Two years since the ECJ ruling: More consumer protection instead of more genetic engineering!
In a statement, Alexander Hissting, managing director of the Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik (VLOG) e.V., says:
“The ECJ ruling was and is an important milestone for Europe’s consumers, farmers and the food industry, particularly for the growing organic and ‘Ohne Gentechnik’ sectors. The ongoing study of the ruling by the EU Commission must not be misused to evade the rules. Rather, the goal must be the consistent implementation of the ruling – and thus more consumer protection instead of more genetic engineering. Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner should use Germany’s EU Council presidency to this end, instead of campaigning for deregulation herself, as she has recently done.
As the representative of the German federal government Julia Klöckner has a key role. The “Ohne Gentechnik” sector in Germany is particularly strong and Klöckner’s own ministry is the owner of the “Ohne GenTechnik” seal for which it has assigned the trademark use rights to the Verband Lebensmittel Ohne Gentechnik (VLOG). Two years after the ruling by the ECJ judges, what we need above all is to finally have reliable detection methods for new genetic engineering methods and their consistent use. That is what Julia Klöckner should be fighting for.
Consumers place great value on transparency. They want to know how their food is manufactured. Repeated surveys confirm that a majority of them want the “Ohne Gentechnik” labelling. And the continued growth in “Ohne Gentechnik” sales proves the trend: In 2019 German consumers spent over EUR 11 billion for products with the “Ohne GenTechnik” seal from the Verband Lebensmittel Ohne Gentechnik (VLOG). In more and more European countries there are now corresponding labelling options.
Consumers do not distinguish, any more than the ECJ judges, between “old” and “new” genetic engineering and do not allow themselves to be deceived by euphemisms such as “genome editing”. That is why it is so important that there be no deregulation as demanded by the biotechnology lobby and some politicians. If the rules are hollowed out and exceptions and loopholes allowed, then “Ohne Gentechnik” would be in serious danger. Anyone who foists unregulated and thus unlabelled, unidentifiable genetically engineered food on consumers destroys trust in politics, the food sector and trade.