European ‘Green Deal’ stripped of proposal to develop ‘innovative strategies,’ including gene editing

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The Green Deal submitted [Dec. 11] left out two controversial passages to agriculture. The debate on genetic engineering and pesticide limits is thus postponed.

From the older version of the Green Deal it emerged that the Commission wanted to present “measures to develop innovative strategies, including new genome techniques”. There is explosive force behind this, as the breeding of new organisms using genome technologies, including the Crispr gene scissors, is highly controversial.

In July 2018, the ECJ classified these plants as genetically modified. Should the new commission focus on genome techniques in the future, this would not only be a statement against the court ruling it could also be a step away from current consumer protection, said Green MEP Martin Häusling in an interview with EURACTIV. He fears that these new plant breeding methods could in future be exempted from the risk assessment by the EU Food Authority EFSA, as well as the labeling requirement.

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However, in the final proposal of the Green Deal, the innovation approach has been removed. Instead, there is a much more careful formulation, one that will consider the “potential role of new innovative techniques”.

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[Editor’s note: This article was published in German and has been translated and edited for clarity.]

Read full, original article: Green Deal: Von der Leyen rowing back at pesticides and genetic engineering

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