Viewpoint: CRISPR and other new plant breeding technologies (NBTs) can help Europe address food and farming problems

university lab exploring new methods plant breeding closeup
Image source: Dreamstime

Language and accusations are still exactly what they were in the late 1990s: “Frankenfoods” allegedly threatened the health and lives of millions and doomsday of our environment apparently was around the corner. Well, none of that ever really happened, did it?

Regardless, it seems that warming-up that cold GMO soup, flavouring it with a bit of anti-corporate sentiment and allegations of shady, undue industry lobbying, will still deliver the odd vote on election day next May.

Let’s hope it won’t – and with that help finally lay the black-and-white thinking of good (organic) and evil (non-organic=GMO) agriculture to rest and start talking defined objectives and measurable criteria and deliverables.

Assessing the latest plant breeding methods, the opinion of the ECJ’s Advocate General actually does just that: taking a measured and differentiated view.

True, the latest plant breeding methods will not resolve all our problems with food production and environmental protection. But nobody actually promises that! They are simply new, more sophisticated tools that can help to address agricultural and with that breeding challenges in a quicker and a more targeted manner.

Editor’s note: Garlich von Essen is the secretary-general of the European Seed Association

Read full, original article: Plant breeding innovations can help to future proof our farming system

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