GMO news related to Belgium

29.04.2021 |

European Commission opens the door to new GMOs

European Commission backtracks and opens the door to the deregulation of new GMOs, putting citizens and farmers’ freedom of choice at risk

Slow Food is deeply alarmed by the European Commission’s conclusions from the study on “new genomic techniques” which opens the door to the deregulation of new GMOs, ignoring the precautionary principle.

“Through the EU Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission committed to accelerate the transition towards a truly sustainable food system. By suggesting that EU GMO rules must be re-opened, the Commission is falling into the trap of pursuing techno-fixes rather than investing in and promoting agroecological systems that benefit farmers, local communities, and the wider environment,” says Marta Messa, director of Slow Food Europe.

29.04.2021 |

GM food can and must be labelled

As the European Commission is considering how to regulate genetically modified (GM) products created with new GM technology, Eleonora Evi argues that the EU must continue to label all GM food as such, regardless of the technology used to produce it.

Eleonora Evi is a Green MEP.

A recent EU-wide opinion poll commissioned by the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament shows that the vast majority (86%) of Europeans who have heard of genetically modified (GM) crops want food produced from these plants to be labelled as such.

The majority (68%) of respondents who have heard of new GM techniques, such as CRISPR, want food produced with these techniques also labelled as GM.

The poll confirms the Commission’s view that Europeans want detailed information about the food they buy, be it on the nutritional quality or the place and method of production.

The Commission has announced mandatory, front-of-pack nutritional information and said it would develop a “sustainable food-labelling framework” that also covers the environmental and social aspects of food production.

26.04.2021 |

Genome edited plants in the EU

A SCIENTIFIC CRITIQUE OF LEOPOLDINA AND EASAC STATEMENTS

The Greens/EFA Group has commissioned the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) and Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS) to critically assess the scientific foundation of a statement published by German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2019 on the regulation of genome-edited plants in the EU.

These are the main findings of the scientific critique:

"The EASAC-endorsed Leopoldina Statement on the regulation of ‘genome edited’ plants is based on a limited number of selected publications. It fails to reflect the findings of at least 200 highly relevant published scientific studies.

These studies document adverse effects of existing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the environment and human health, and demonstrate the potential for negative outcomes of more recent genetic engineering tools.

23.04.2021 |

EU Commission study on the future of GMOs – What can we expect?

EU must stop wasting time trying to find loopholes to allow these new GMOs onto our fields and plates, says Mute Schimpf, Friends of the Earth Europe

On Friday April 30 2021, the European Commission will publish a study which will have a key influence over whether or not a new generation of genetically modified crops will be exempt from EU safety, traceability and transparency rules.

The study has already attracted controversy. Friends of the Earth Europe has criticised the European Commission for ignoring its own procedures by allowing the biotech industry to dominate the responses to the stakeholder consultation, as well as failing to respect transparency protocols.

22.04.2021 |

First application for approval of CRISPR/Cas plants in the EU

DowDupont maize (Corteva) is resistant to herbicides and produces insecticides

The first application for approval of CRISPR/Cas plants is now in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) register. Maize DP915635 is resistant to the herbicide glufosinate and produces an insecticidal toxin found in specific ferns growing on trees. DowDupont is marketing its genetically engineered plants under the company name Corteva, and also has filed several patent applications for the plants, some of which have already been granted in Europe.

The maize was generated with a combination of old and new genetic engineering methods (GE): to deliver the CRISPR/Cas ‘gene scissors’ into the plant cells, they are first bombarded with small particles (‘gene canon’). In consequence, the cells produced the enzyme for the gene scissors which then inserted a DNA-sequence into the maize genome. This additional DNA-sequence is meant to facilitate the insertion of other genes, and therefore is called a ‘landing pad’. In a next step, again involving ‘old GE’, a further gene construct is inserted into the ‘landing pad’ in the maize genome, conferring resistance to the herbicide and producing the fern toxin.

22.04.2021 |

First application for approval of CRISPR/Cas plants in the EU

DowDupont (Corteva) maize is tolerant to herbicides and produces insecticides

The first application for approval of CRISPR/Cas plants is now in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) register. Maize DP915635 is tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate and produces an insecticidal toxin found in specific ferns growing on trees. DowDupont is marketing its genetically engineered plants under the company name Corteva, and also has filed several patent applications for the plants, some of which have already been granted in Europe.

The maize was generated with a combination of old and new genetic engineering methods (GE). To deliver the CRISPR/Cas "gene scissors" into the plant cells, they are first bombarded with small particles with a gene gun (an "old GE" method). In consequence, the cells produced the enzyme for the gene scissors which then inserted a DNA sequence into the maize genome. This additional DNA sequence is meant to facilitate the insertion of other genes and therefore is called a "landing pad". In a next step, again involving "old GE", a further gene construct is inserted into the "landing pad" in the maize genome, conferring tolerance to the herbicide and producing the fern toxin.

07.04.2021 |

Report: majority of consumers want compulsory labelling on all genetically modified food

A majority of European consumers want to see compulsory labelling on food products containing genetically modified crops, according to a recent Ipsos report, but industry players insist that this is impossible to implement.

The report, commissioned by the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and carried out by the polling organisation Ipsos, surveyed thousands of consumers across all 27 member states between February and March of this year in an attempt to gauge their understanding and attitudes towards genetically modified (GM) crops.

06.04.2021 |

Gene editing myths and reality – a guide through the smokescreen

An unprecedented drive is under way to promote new genetic modification techniques that are collectively termed gene editing – most notably CRISPR/Cas. The agricultural biotech industry claims that these techniques can provide solutions to our food and farming problems, including the challenges posed by climate change, pests, and diseases.

This report, published by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament and authored by GMWatch editor Claire Robinson with technical input by molecular geneticist Dr Michael Antoniou, looks at the claims and shows them to be at best misleading and at worst deceptive. It shows that gene editing is a costly and potentially dangerous distraction from the real solutions to the challenges faced by our food and farming sectors.

02.04.2021 |

EU Watchdog Radio: Episode 20 Biotech lobby versus Green Deal

In this new episode of EU Watchdog Radio we dive into the covert lobby tactics used by the biotechnology industry to get a new generation of GMO’s to be used in agriculture, deregulated in the EU. Why are agrochemical companies like Bayer and Corteva to against having European safety rules? And why is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation financing this lobby-campaign?

A few decades ago some agrochemical companies started selling patented seeds created with genetic modification, for growing plants called GMO’s. They are now trying to promote a next generation of GMO’s using new genetic editing techniques like Crispr/Cas. But the companies do not want these to be called new GMO’s because in Europe those have a bad reputation and track record. The first generation GMOs did not live up to the expectations that were created back then.

30.03.2021 |

OPINION POLL ON THE LABELLING OF GM CROPS

An Ipsos opinion poll shows that the vast majority (86%) of Europeans who have heard of genetically modified (GM) crops want food produced from these plants to be labelled as such. It also shows that the majority (68%) of respondents who have heard of new GM techniques, such as CRISPR, want food produced with these techniques also labelled as GM. The polling organisation, Ipsos conducted the representative survey between 11 February and 5 March 2021 in all 27 EU countries on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament.

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