EU rules for GMO opt-out may open door to case-by-case approvals

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In what follows we clarify what the new European Directive (Editor’s note: EU rules for GMO regulation) entails. We also explain why we think it is a positive move for shifting GMO politics away from the unproductive and deeply polarized pro-anti trench warfare of recent decades.

Under the new Directive, a Member State can now ask that all or part of its territory not be included in the geographical area for which a GMO is approved for cultivation. . . .

Importantly, countries can also choose to opt back in at any time by simply submitting a request to have their territory included again.

What this means is that countries (or regions) are not opting out of GMO cultivation in general. That is, they are not declaring an “anti-GMO” position. Rather, opt-out requests are submitted in relation to specific crops and are decided on a case by case basis.

. . . .

This new directive therefore creates a more flexible form of regulation. . . .

Flexibility on what type of genetic modification is deemed acceptable is particularly important now. Biotechnology continues to evolve and techniques like marker-assisted breedingrecombinant DNACRISPR, and synthetic biology give people more tools for modifying genes. These may legitimately be judged to have different levels of acceptability by different individuals and/or member states.

. . . . Far from being “anti-GMO” legislation, this new directive actually opens the way for more approvals (for those countries wanting them) by breaking the political deadlock that has stalled authorization procedures for years.

Read full, original post: Why Europe will let member states opt out of GM crops

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