On 28 September, the European Commission organized a debate on new genetic engineering techniques and their legal status at the High-Level Conference on Modern Biotechnology in Agriculture - “Paving the way for responsible innovation”. The decision on how to regulate the new GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) will have very important consequences throughout the food production chain and, above all, in the organic sector in particular. However, until now the European Commission has delayed the publication of its own legal interpretation and there is also a pending legal case in the European Court of Justice (Case C-528/16, Paysanne Confederation), whose decision is expected in 2018.
Jan Plagge, Vice President for Policy of IFOAM EU, the European umbrella organization of which the Spanish Agroecology Society is a part, says: "The position of the ecological movement is clear: all new genetic engineering techniques must be considered, without question, as technical of genetic modification targeting GMOs and a decline within the scope of existing GMO legislation. There are no legal or technical reasons to exclude these techniques from risk assessment, prior authorization, and mandatory traceability and labeling that apply to current GMOs ".
And he adds: "The deregulation of new genetic engineering techniques would jeopardize the ability of the organic sector to remain free of GMOs and would endanger the freedom of farmers and consumers not to use these new GMOs. The European Commission it should ensure that no product obtained by new genetic engineering techniques is placed on the market before detection methods are available and fund EU research projects to develop these detection methods.
Eric Gall, IFOAM EU Policy Director, says: "The green movement is based on the precautionary principle, which is a cornerstone of EU environmental policy as well as a driver of innovation. It promotes a systems approach to innovation that is more knowledge-intensive than input-intensive, and is also inclusive, strengthening resilience in agricultural systems and minimizing our impact on biodiversity and natural resources. "
Jan Plagge presented the views of the European organic farming movement at the High Level Conference on "Modern Biotechnologies in Agriculture - Paving the way for responsible innovation".
AGRONEWS CASTILLA Y LEÓN