EU review of strict CRISPR crop rules dominated by biotech industry, anti-GMO groups allege

greenpeace eu
Credit: Greenpeace

The EU is launching a consultation as part of an info-gathering exercise for a Commission study on “the status of new genomic techniques under Union law,” due by April 30, 2021. The consultation [started] with a “stakeholder meeting” [on Feb. 9] At stake is how the EU will regulate gene-edited products ….

The EU’s top court ruled in 2018 that plants created by “targeted mutagenesis” techniques such as CRISPR should be strictly regulated as [GMOs]. But an internal document from May 2019 seemed to indicate that it wasn’t the Commission’s preferred approach.

The Commission’s RSVP list for [the Feb. 9 meeting] …. sparked fury from NGOs …. More than 70 percent of the invited organizations represent food and farming interests, with NGO’s accounting for 12 percent ….

Related article:  Will the public embrace CRISPR to 'edit out' birth defects as it has other reproductive technologies?

Franziska Achterberg, the EU food policy director for Greenpeace complained that the consultation had been “designed to artificially multiply the voices of those most invested in new GM technology, like Bayer, Syngenta and Corteva who are simultaneously members of several invited groups.”

[T]he Commission sent stakeholders a 25-point draft questionnaire on [new genomic techniques] NGTs. The document …. asks …. whether those consulted have “specific ethical concerns” on products created using this kind of science.

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