Advocate General of EU Court of Justice faces criticism
24 January 2018 / Last week, the Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice publically declared his position on whether new methods of genetic engineering, known as gene editing, should come under EU GMO regulation. In his statement he did not address these new techniques, their applications and risks in detail. Instead, his reasoning is largely based on very general, and in some cases, outdated categories, likely to lead to considerable legal uncertainty.
Already six organisms engineered with CRISPR are allowed by USDA
18 January 2018 / The US is currently authorising more and more genetically engineered products without putting any effective controls in place; regardless of whether old or new methods of genetic engineering are used. The first genetically engineered apples appeared on US supermarket shelves in 2017. Sliced and packed in plastics, the so-called “Arctic” apples are engineered to still look fresh even if they are not. These apples were developed using earlier methods of genetic engineering. No labelling is required.
The EU Commission has granted six further authorisations for genetically engineered plants, including some controversial genetically engineered soybeans with triple herbicide resistance. The decision to grant authorisation was made on the quiet by the EU Commission during the Christmas holiday period. Testbiotech has proven that the real risks from consumption of these soybeans were not investigated. But the EU Commission failed to respond to any of these scientific arguments.
But EU Commission decision is not being questioned
4 January 2017 / The EU Ombudswoman has criticised the EU Commission in regard to procedural errors in the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants. The case was started after Testbiotech made a complaint regarding the import of viable oilseed rape kernels that could, due to spillage, lead to the uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered plants. The EU Commission had, in fact, taken far longer to deal with the complaint than the stipulated time frame. This has now been deemed ‘maladministration’ by the ombudswoman.