GMO news related to Germany

15.12.2021 |

Call for a ministerial conference to stop patents on seeds!

Agricultural companies continue to hold patents on conventionally-bred fruits, vegetables and cereals, such as barley, even though this is not allowed under European patent law. Similar patents have also been filed on animals. Conventionally-bred plants and animals are not an invention! Implement existing prohibitions now to stop the big agricultural companies from taking control of our food!

14.12.2021 |

Opposition against BASF patent on watermelons

Bushy plant growth is not an invention

14 December 2021 / No Patents on Seeds! is filing an opposition against a Nunhems (BASF) patent on watermelons (EP2814316) derived from conventional breeding. The bushy plants were originally discovered in a garden. The genetic predisposition to bushy growth occurred randomly. Nunhems has, in this case, simply used well-known methods to breed melons with less seeds from these plants. However, the main advantage of the plants is that they need less space to grow. However, these characteristics were detected but not invented. The patent covers the plants, the seeds and the fruits.

26.11.2021 |

New German Government Confirms Glyphosate Ban and Aims for 30% Organic Agriculture by 2030

The new coalition government in Germany has confirmed that glyphosate-based herbicides will be banned in the country from the end of 2023, as part of a wider agreement to reduce the use of toxic chemical inputs in agriculture, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The coalition agreement that outlined the glyphosate ban will install a three-way federal government and end 16 years of conservative-led rule under Angela Merkel following a September election. The new coalition comprises the centre-left Social Democrats, the ecologist Greens and the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP).

18.11.2021 |

Genetically engineered bacteria put food safety at risk

GE microbes often remain undetected

18 November 2021 / Genetically engineered (GE) bacteria are used, amongst other things, in the production of enzymes and vitamins. As an unintended consequence, genetically engineered bacteria have repeatedly found their way into the production processes of food and feed. EU member states have discovered more than a dozen such cases in last years, concerning more than 20 countries. The GE bacteria carry genes conferring antibiotic resistance which may be transferred to gut bacteria. More detailed examinations have found substantial risks to food safety.

15.11.2021 |

Decision on patent covering salmon and trout

Patent claims fish and fish fillets

15 November 2021 / The European Patent Office (EPO) will decide tomorrow on an opposition against a patent on fish. Patent (EP1965658) claims salmon and trout as technical inventions. The fish are fed with selected plants to influence the composition of the fatty acids in their muscles. However, it has long been known that specific diets can influence the composition of animal produce such as meat, milk, eggs and fish filets – it is neither new nor inventive.

05.11.2021 |

Court proceedings against EU-approvals for genetically engineered plants

Testbiotech taking legal action against the EU Commission

5 November 2021 / Testbiotech wants two recent EU approvals for genetically engineered (GE) maize and soybeans to be examined by the General Court of the European Union. The cases against the EU Commission were filed in September 2021 and both cases have now been accepted by the court (T-605/21 and T-606/21). In their analysis, Testbiotech, found that the risks associated with the GE plants produced by Bayer had not undergone detailed assessment as foreseen in EU regulation.

The court cases concern maize (MON 87427 x MON 87460 x MON 89034 x MIR162 x NK603) and soybean (MON87751 x MON87701 x MON87708 x MON89788), both of which were produced from several crossings (therefore also called ’stacked’). As a result, the plants are resistant to herbicides such as glyphosate and, in addition, produce several insecticides.

04.11.2021 |

Companies Carlsberg and Heineken want revocation of their own patent

Success for No Patents on Seeds!

4 November 2021 / The beer companies, Carlsberg and Heineken, are currently asking the European Patent Office (EPO) to revoke one of their controversial patents (EP2384110). The patent claims the barley, which was not obtained from genetic engineering methods, as well as the beer produced thereof. No Patents on Seeds! filed an opposition in 2017 because patents on conventional breeding are prohibited. The EPO rejected the opposition in 2018 and No Patents on Seeds! subsequently filed an appeal against the decision. The companies are now dropping the patent even though no legal decision has been made. Consequently, it seems to be only a matter of time before the patent is lapsed.

26.10.2021 |

New scientific publication on novel risks and applications of gene scissors

Need for a case-specific risk assessment of plants obtained from new genetic engineering

26 October 2021 / A new study published in the scientific journal, Plants, presents the specific risks of new genetic engineering techniques and gives an overview of possible gene scissor applications. Inducing supposedly small alterations in the genome of crop plants can nevertheless generate complex changes. The results of the study highlight the need for plants developed using New Genetic Engineering techniques to undergo case-specific risk assessment, taking both the properties of the end product and risks posed by the applied procedures into account.

23.10.2021 |

German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation - position paper on new genomic techniques and their regulation

High risk potential requires case-by-case analysis

23 October 2021 / The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) has outlined its position in a paper published in October on the intention of the EU Commission to evaluate new legislative proposals for the regulation of certain new genomic techniques (NGTs) in plants. The paper concludes that these plants have a similar or even greater risk potential than plants obtained from older genetic engineering techniques. According to the BfN, a high level of safety can only be ensured with a case-by-case analysis as required in current genetic engineering legislation, especially since there is no or only very limited experience with the deliberate release of these plants and their products.

13.10.2021 |

Have your say
Have your say

EU-Commission takes first step to deregulate genetically engineered plants and food

In an “Inception Impact Assessment” published on the 24th September, the European Commission informs the public and interested parties about its intention to prepare new legislation that would waive the standard risk assessment and labelling requirements for genetically modified organisms on “plants obtained by targeted mutagenesis and cisgenesis”. With these new terms the Commission describes results of the new genetic engineering technologies CRISPR/Cas and other “gene editing” techniques which effect either the single or multiple alteration of short DNA strands or the transfer of strands which already exist in an organisms DNA, but may not be activated or located in a different context. Cisgenesis describes genetic engineering that does not introduce new DNA from another organism (transgenesis) but alters and “rewrites” existing DNA.

The Commission invites the public to comment on its plan, goals and assumptions before October 22nd.

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