Genetically engineered plants: will the EU follow the ‘American way’ in agriculture?

New videos aim to promote controversial, but science-based discussion

15 February 2024 / The EU Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament are currently discussing the future regulation of plants obtained from new genetic engineering (New GE or NGT) in the EU. At the moment, the issues linked to NGTs remain controversial with no agreement in sight. One crucial question in this debate touches on which negative consequences must be avoided if, in future, genetically engineered plants are also grown in Europe. To gain more clarity on this issue, Testbiotech has analysed among others experience gained in North and South America, where genetically engineered plants have been cultivated for around thirty years.

So far, the negative consequences of cultivating genetically engineered plants include uncontrolled spread, increased usage of pesticides, threats to biodiversity, patenting of seeds and a diminished freedom of choice. Testbiotech has published a report and further background material dealing with these issues.

In addition, Testbiotech has produced a number of short videos in which some of the above issues are summarised and clarified. The videos are intended to make the topic accessible to a broader public and contribute to a controversial, but factual debate. This also refers to social media platforms, where the communication channels are often clogged with polarising messages by ‘trolls’, which ultimately intend to prevent an informed debate about how we want to shape our future.

Testbiotech calls for the EU to resist the temptation to bury its head in the sand in regard to the negative consequences of deregulating plants obtained from new genetic engineering techniques . The use of NGT plants cannot be considered sustainable if ecosystems are overburdened by mass releases of non-adapted genetically engineered organisms, hidden risks are introduced into the food chain, breeding is blocked by patents and consumer interests are disregarded.

Therefore, the debate is not simply about being ‘for’ or ‘against’ a technology, but about how ‘to get it right’ for the common good and to avoid negative consequences for future generations. Testbiotech is thus seeking to strengthen the protection of health and the environment.

Christoph Then,, Tel + 49 151 54638040

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