GMO news related to Belgium

15.12.2023 |

Genetically modified crops aren't a solution to climate change, despite what the biotech industry says

The European Commission launched a proposal in July 2023 to deregulate a large number of plants manufactured using new genetic techniques.

Despite extraordinary attempts by the Spanish presidency to force a breakthrough, EU members have not yet reached a consensus on this plan. But if the proposal were to be approved, these plants would be treated the same as conventional plants, eliminating the need for safety tests and the labelling of genetically modified food products.

30.11.2023 |

Policymakers should respect organic's choice not to use NGTs

BRUSSELS, 30 NOVEMBER 2023 – Speaking at an online press conference this morning, Jan Plagge, President of IFOAM Organics Europe, called on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and Member States to respect organic farmers and operators’ choice to not use novel genomic techniques (NGTs) and maintain the ban on the use of NGTs in organic production as laid out in the Commission’s proposal. Bernard Lignon, IFOAM Organics Europe Board member and sector representative for processing and trade, called on policymakers to include full traceability on the use of NGTs in the production chain and the possibility for coexistence measures at national level in the legislative proposal.

15.11.2023 |

Joint statement on patents and new GMOs : Don’t risk the future of our seeds!

Ahead of the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 20-21 november, ECVC has sent, along with 8 organisations including seed-savers, GMO-free industry and environmental NGOs, a statement to EU agriculture ministers, alerting them on the patents that cover all new genomic techniques (new GMOs).

New GMOs are currently at the center of the debate of the Agriculture Council following the publication of a Regulation proposal by the Commission in July 2023. Even though the proposals claims that new GMOs, and especially "category 1 new genomic techniques", must be considered as conventionnal breeding, all these GMOs are covered by patents. In the absence of traceability requirement, breeders and farmers will lose their means of protection in case of accidental contamination leading to infrigement proceedings, and will face as well abusive extension of the scope of patents to conventional seeds. This proposal goes clearly against the EU obligations on farmers' rights to seeds, and will have a tremendous economic impact on the whole GMO-free farming, breeding and industry sector.

26.10.2023 |

Unmasking new GMOs protecting farmers and consumers’ right to transparency


The European Commission’s proposal to widely deregulate the new generation of Genetically Modified Organisms (new GMOs) - now called New Genomic Techniques or NGTs for political purposes - plans to take away farmers’, food processors’, retailers’ and consumers’ right to be informed whether the feed and food they buy contains new GMOs. The law proposal of the EU Commission is one that meets the demands of the agribusiness lobby rather than its citizens’ best interests. Studies show that, as long as consumers have the information whether their food contains GMOs or not, they prefer to choose conventional, organic or GMO-free options.1 This means that, if there is not a demand for GMO products, (many) farmers would not buy new GM seeds, limiting the European market and global pesticide corporations’ sales of these products.

19.10.2023 |

Draft rapporteur’s report on New Genomic Techniques “an affront”

The draft report of the rapporteur of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety is completely unacceptable, says ENGA (the European Non-GMO Industry Association), given its removal of the already threadbare nods to transparency for EU citizens in the European Commission’s proposal on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs).

The EP rapporteur’s draft report removes the only transparency requirement proposed by the European Commission for category 1 NGTs (about 94% of all New GMOs): the need to label seeds as NGTs. This means that the whole food production chain, starting with breeders and farmers, as well as food and feed processors, retailers and consumers, will be kept in the dark about New GMOs on the EU market.

19.10.2023 |

European Parliament should uphold ban for all NGTs in organic in rapporteur’s report

BRUSSELS, 19 OCTOBER 2023 – IFOAM Organics Europe, the voice for organic food and farming in Europe, is strongly against the changes concerning organic in the rapporteur’s draft report on New Genetic Techniques (NGTs). Crucially, the responsible rapporteur in the ENVI committee proposed to remove the ban of Category 1 NGTs in organic (Article 5(2)). Furthermore, in the draft report, important seed labelling provisions (Article 10) are deleted, which would have been a starting point for transparency at the breeding level.

In June 2023, an overwhelming majority of the European organic movement re-affirmed that the organic production process should remain free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). As the European Commission’s proposal reflects, the use of gene editing technologies is not aligned with the principles of organic agriculture. Using NGTs in food production can lead to unintended effects, has potential risks, and conflicts with the precautionary principle. Organic producers also want and must fulfil consumers’ expectations that no old or new GMOs are used in the organic production process.

13.10.2023 |

Commission proposal on new genomic techniques is a step backward for biosafety, freedom of choice and consumers’ information

On 5 July, the European Commission published its proposal on plants obtained by certain new genomic techniques (NGTs). As the European organic movement, we consider this proposal misguided, dangerous for European seed autonomy, and a distraction from the agroecological solutions needed to move agriculture towards sustainability.

21.09.2023 |

New brand of GMOs would escape safety testing under EU Commission plan – briefing

Brussels, September 2023 – On 5 July 2023, the European Commission released a plan to scrap most safety rules governing the production and sale of a new brand of genetically modified (GM) plants produced with new genomic techniques, or NGTs. If adopted, the legislative proposal would seriously weaken or entirely remove safety checks and labelling requirements, based on unproven claims by biotech companies.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced with these new techniques are currently governed by existing EU legislation, which includes safety measures, such as an evaluation of risks to human health and the environment, monitoring for possible adverse effects after release into the environment and the food chain, and labelling (if GM products are intended to be sold directly on the EU market).

22.08.2023 |

New GMOs: Old claims and false promises

Briefing paper – Proposal on new genomic techniques

Under the current EU legislative framework, all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are subject to mandatory risk assessment, traceability, and labelling. These requirements guarantee freedom of choice for farmers, breeders, and consumers, while protecting our environment and health in line with the precautionary principle.

For more than a decade, new GMOs, produced using new GM techniques (also called new genomic techniques, NGTs), were developed. The agricultural biotech industry, as well as seed companies and international trade partners, are pushing to exempt GM products obtained by these techniques from the current GMO regulations. They claim these techniques are the solution to ensure food security and achieve sustainability in food and farming.

05.07.2023 |

GMO deregulation disregards safety and consumer rights

Nature too is at risk

The Commission has published its proposal to weaken regulations around new GMOs and its answers to some FAQs on the topic.

Below are the responses of Friends of the Earth Europe (1) and Greenpeace (2).

1. The EU Commission’s new GMOs proposal sacrifices consumers’ rights and puts nature at risk

2. GMO deregulation disregards safety and consumer rights, Greenpeace