European Union suspends some GMO regulations to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine

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The EU’s stance on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been criticized by the Consumer Choice Center, which has labelled it an “inexplicable double standard”.

The international consumer advocacy group noted that the European Parliament has recently authorized a temporary derogation from rules on genetic engineering, to allow Covid-19 vaccine development to benefit from GMO technology.

In a statement, quoted by the consumer group, the European Parliament said: “The derogation will facilitate the development, authorization and consequently availability of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.”

In response to this, the Consumer Choice Center’s senior policy analyst Bill Wirtz said he’s “puzzled by the change of heart” of members of the parliament, adding:

If you had suggested anything of the sort six months ago, some lawmakers would have been furious.

Editor’s note: The EU press release goes on to say:

Some COVID-19 vaccines and treatments already being developed may be defined genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are thus covered by the relevant EU GMO Directives. As national requirements to assess the environmental risks of clinical trials on medicinal products that contain or consist of GMOs vary considerably across member states, a derogation from these rules is needed to avoid significant delay in developing life-saving vaccines and treatments.

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