An interesting study has recently been issued by the European Commission. The study confirms that the findings of the 2007-2008 evaluation on the production and marketing of plant reproductive material are still valid. However, it also finds that the current GMO legislation is not fit for purpose in terms of new techniques that alter the genome of an organism (new genomic techniques or NGTs).

The findings of the study suggests that NGTs could make plants more resistant to diseases, environmental conditions and climate change effects. It sees that such techniques can improve the nutritional profile of crops, boosting fatty acid content or enabling reduced need for agricultural inputs such as pesticides.

Yet at the same time, the study also assesses concerns associated with NGT products and their current and future applications, including the possible safety and environmental impact for example on biodiversity.

with 3 possible policy options

  1. Do-nothing
  2. Amend existing legislation to improve procedures and coherence of the legislation and introduce ad hoc measures to increase sustainability
  3. Amend existing legislation for more flexibility to adapt to technological developments, to improve access to genetic resources and to address the sustainability objectives in a coherent way

The EU executive is now starting a wide and open consultation process to discuss the design of a new legal framework for these biotechnologies.

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