EU Commission plans to proceed rapidly with deregulation of New GE

Kyriakides: proposal for a new law will be presented before the summer break

5 May 2023 / In a letter to Testbiotech, the EU Commission claims that all risks associated with the unintended genetic changes of plants derived from new genomic techniques (NGT, also known as new genetic engineering orNew GE) have already been addressed. At the same time, the responsible Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, has publicly announced that she will present draft legislation before the summer break to accelerate the introduction of plants derived from New GE.

As recently as April 2023, various sources reported that the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, which is responsible for quality assurance at the early stages of the legislative processes, had identified serious problems with the way in which the Commission had prepared its draft proposal for a new law. There are also shortcomings in regard to health and the environment. Nevertheless, the responsible department within the EU Commission, the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), appears to be determined to proceed, regardless of the current lack of transparency around these issues.

Testbiotech has meanwhile received a new letter from DG SANTE in response to its criticism of the proposed deregulation. This letter states that there is no need for a detailed investigation of the risks posed by unintended genetic changes caused by NGTs. DG SANTE does not address the substance of the Testbiotech’s science-based concerns, but seems mainly to defend its own position.

Testbiotech is warning that if hazardous unintended genetic changes associated with new genetic engineering are overlooked, they may quickly spread within breeding populations and accumulate by further cross breeding. The damage they might cause has the potential to severely impact the future of plant and animal breeding and, therefore, poses a significant risk to the environment and the food security of future generations.

In its response to the letter from the EU Commission, Testbiotech has provided further evidence highlighting the need for a much more detailed investigation of unintended genetic changes caused by New GE processes. Testbiotech is also urging the commission to avoid any hasty releases of New GE organisms in order to prevent severe damage to future generations.

Christoph Then,, Tel + 49 151 54638040

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