The just published results of a European Commission public consultation on the “Legislation for plants produced by certain new genomic techniques (NGTs)” show that almost 80% of the 2200 participants do regard the existing provisions of the GMO legislation as inadequate for plants obtained by latest breeding methods such as targeted mutagenesis or cisgenesis. Applications of targeted mutagenesis are highly versatile and can be used in the development of a wide range of different plant products while the existing EU rules largely date back to the 1990s and are based on the scientific knowledge of that time.
“This is another clear signal towards the European Commission that change is needed! And that there is wide support for a policy and rules that enable plant breeding to use the latest tools to help it contribute to a sustainable and productive agriculture”, says Garlich von Essen, Secretary General of Euroseeds.
The consultation details that a large majority of citizens, academia and research institutions, companies and business associations, public authorities, as well as the majority of trade unions support this view. On the other hand, only environmental organisations, and a majority of NGOs and consumer organisations insist to keep the current legislation in place.
Internationally, a growing number of countries are modernising their rules on the principle that plant varieties developed through these NGTs should not be subject to GMO regulations if they could also be obtained through earlier breeding methods or result from spontaneous processes in nature. “The Commission should take confidence from the consultation. Europeans want to support a sustainable and productive agriculture that delivers on food security and environmental protection. They see the latest breeding methods as potential enabling tools that need proper rules to fulfil their potential”, concludes von Essen.
The Commissions report on the results of the public consultation can be accessed by clicking the below button.