Following the positive result of the public consultation the European Commission in July, 27 business associations co-signed a letter highlighting the need for a differentiated, proportionate and workable regulatory framework for plants resulting from NGTs. The signatories consider an undifferentiated mandatory risk assessment step for all plants obtained by targeted mutagenesis, cisgenesis and intragenesis as disproportionate and unworkable, specifically for SMEs and highlight that under such conditions, NGTs will not deliver on the goals of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
Faced with increasing challenges concerning the productivity of sustainable agriculture, food security and climate change, a study on NGTs as released by the Commission in 2021 highlights that NGTs can deliver the objectives of the European Green Deal by saving land-resources, providing the sustainable use of crop protection products, improving food, feed and animal health quality, increasing yields and therefore ensuring food security worldwide. This is why several associations from the agri-food chain call for a new enabling framework for plants obtained by NGTs.
The associations also highlight that specific trade-related challenges might arise in case the EU will not align with the policies in a growing number of other countriesthat take a differentiated regulatory approach, exempting those products from the biotech regulations that could also be obtained by conventional breeding approaches of natural processes.
The undersigned agri-food chain partners highlight that any sustainability assessment of new plant varieties must be context-dependent, science-based and non-discriminatory in view of the breeding tools that have been used and taking into account all the dimensions of sustainability (socio-economic, environmental).
Therefore, partners from the agri-food value chain welcome an ambitious policy proposal presented in a timely manner to enable access to those innovations to EU farmers and the food chain as well as to consumers as soon as possible.
On the matter, Euroseeds Secretary General Garlich von Essen commented that:
“We consider an undifferentiated mandatory risk assessment step for all plants obtained by targeted mutagenesis, cisgenesis and intragenesis as disproportionate and unworkable, specifically for SMEs and highlight that under such conditions, NGTs will not deliver on the goals of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies”.