EU parliament urged to reverse de facto ban on gene-edited crops

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Image Credit: Engineering and Technology

The European Union Court of Justice’s (ECJ) recent decision that new gene-editing techniques must go through the same lengthy approval process as traditional transgenic genetically modified (GM) plants has sent shock waves around the world and its greatest impact will be on those who are hungry and food insecure.

The decision will have a direct impact on European biotech companies trying to compete in a global market. According to Sarah Schmidt of the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf in Germany, the ruling is “the death blow for plant biotech in Europe.” It will force gene-edited plants to go through a regulatory process that typically costs about $35 million …. effectively pricing out universities, nonprofits, and small companies.

Related article:  Talking Biotech: Tough questions about genetic engineering—a listener interviews Dr. Kevin Folta

The EU Parliament needs to …. initiate an honest conversation …. on the newer mutagenesis seed technology. The EU Court of Justice can’t be the last word on this subject.  The EU must follow sound science for the world to be able to feed itself. If that requires a change in the EU statutes to exempt CRISPR and other such technologies from the GMO regulatory requirements, then so be it. The scientific community is doing its best to keep the Malthusian theory at bay. It is time for the EU Parliament, Council and Commission to step up and do their part.

Read full, original article: Opinion: The EU Gene-Editing Decision: Parliament Should not let it Stand

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