New plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) emerged as an innovative agricultural solution in the last decade, allowing the development of new plant varieties by modifying the DNA of the seeds and plant cells.
In July 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis, or gene editing, plant breeding technique are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should, in principle, fall under the GMO Directive.
The court ruling sparked intense debate. The industry and farmers said the decision would deal a severe blow to the EU farming sector competitiveness while environmentalists hailed it, saying “hidden GMOs” were prevented from entering Europe through the back door.
But according to EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, there was too much manipulation and “scare-mongering” around the issue. The ‘new plant breeding techniques’ need new EU legislation that takes into account the latest advanced technologies, he recently told EURACTIV.com.
The EU executive has already prepared the ground for a new initiative on gene editing to overhaul the current GMO legislation, EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan has said.
The Netherlands and Estonia are leading a coalition of 14 EU member states calling on the next European Commission to update EU GMO laws with regard to so-called new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs).
A number of breeding companies have promised to relocate their advanced mutagenesis breeding programmes outside Europe and others will follow if nothing is done to change EU rules, Garlich von Essen, the secretary-general of the European Seed Association (ESA), told …
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The 'new plant breeding techniques' need new EU legislation that takes into account the latest advanced technologies, EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis told EURACTIV.com, adding there was too much manipulation and "scare-mongering" around the issue.