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.
“From my point of view, we need a new legal regulatory framework for these new techniques,” Andriukaitis said, adding that it should be dealt with by the new European Commission after the EU elections in May.
New plant breeding techniques, developed in the last decade, allow 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.
Andriukaitis said the ECJ had been asked to interpret a law [GM legislation] which was adopted 20 years ago and was referring to old techniques, without taking into consideration the technological progress in this field.
Andriukaitis added that a broad public debate over the issue was needed, as it is high time that Europe de-stigmatised new plant breeding techniques.
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