Do new plant breeding techniques have a future in Europe?

New plant breeding techniques may soon be classed as GMOs in Europe. [AVANGARD Photography/Shutterstock]

The European Court of Justice is expected to decide soon about the future of the so-called new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) in Europe.

The term describes a number of scientific methods for the genetic engineering of plants to enhance traits like drought tolerance and pest resistance.

At issue is whether these techniques should be classed as GMOs and, therefore, fall under the strict GMO approval process.

The agri-food industry and farmers say the EU should open the door to these techniques and help agriculture face challenges like climate change and rising food demand.

On the other hand, environmentalists insist that these techniques are harmful to health and environment and accuse the big agri-food multinationals of trying to bring these “hidden GMOs” in Europe.

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