|GLOBAL 2000 welcomes the fact that environmental concerns and the need for a strict approval process for New Genetic Engineering (NGT) plants are on the agenda of today's Environment Council. "This is urgently needed, because so far the EU Commission has listened dangerously well to the industry and dangerously little to environmental protection organizations, consumers and farmers," notes Brigitte Reisenberger, spokeswoman for genetic engineering and agriculture at GLOBAL 2000 firmly. |
The European Commission will present a legislative proposal for new genetic engineering at the beginning of June 2023. Both old and new genetic engineering are currently regulated in EU genetic engineering law clear rules for labelling, risk assessment and pre-market approval of all genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A key step on the way to potential new legislation was that carried out by the European Commission Consultation by the public and stakeholders. A comparison of this consultation with that carried out by Friends of the Earth Europe – GLOBAL 2000 is an Austrian member of the environmental umbrella organization strategy documents of the lobby group Euroseeds shows far-reaching parallels at key points.
“This biased action by the European Commission would set a critical new precedent for corporate-driven legislation that threatens the environment and undermines farmers’ and consumers’ right to choose. Such a biased EU consultation must not be the basis for a legislative proposal.” says Brigitte Reisenberger, expert on agriculture and genetic engineering at GLOBAL 2000.
The parallels in the Analysis worked up:
Far-reaching exceptions for NGT plants: In your Strategy paper describes the lobby group Euroseeds, which represents in particular the chemical and seed companies Bayer, BASF and Syngenta, how the deregulation of certain GMOs should look like. She advocates exempting NGT crops from “directed mutagenesis and cisgenesis”, which (in her opinion) are just as safe as conventionally bred crops, from the current EU-wide GMO regulation. This is exactly what the EU Commission now wants to include in a new law. One question of the consultation directly copies industry's argument that New Genetic Engineering could not be detected, while not a single question asks for a rigorous risk assessment for new GMOs. With this exception, the traceability of New Genetically Engineered Plants in the food chain would be passé for farmers and consumers.
Off for GMO labeling: The consultation did not offer any options for feedback that the current transparency system receives through GMO labeling. Maintaining the current labeling regulations under EU genetic engineering law was not an option. This exclusion of new genetic engineering from GMO labeling is a requirement that Euroseeds already has in its Post raised to a previous consultation.
Unsubstantiated sustainability promises: Four of the consultation's eleven multiple-choice questions deal in a one-sided manner with the question of how the sustainability of New GM crops should be promoted. There are no NGT crops worldwide that have been shown to produce greenhouse gas emissions or the use of pesticides would decrease, on the market or ready for the market. There is no scientific evidence for the sustainability of NGT crops. On the contrary, according to research, NGT crops will not reduce pesticide use, some are even designed to increase it. The formulations of the EU Commission are similar to the full-bodied ones Marketing promises made by lobby groups by global pesticide and seed companies. The EU Commission’s consultation even went so far as to “rank” the fictitious contribution to sustainability from largely hypothetical NGT characteristics.
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Photo / Video: GLOBAL 2000 / Christopher Glanzl.