GMO news related to Belgium

13.01.2021 |

Generation unknown: exposing the truth behind the new generation of GMOs

As Europe's farming sector faces up to the combined challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and an increasingly globalised market, a new generation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is being portrayed as a magical solution.

Some have suggested that these new genetically modified crops, animals and microbes should be exempt from GMO safety legislation, introduced to protect consumers and the environment from the risks posed by GMOs.

This paper argues that these new forms of genetic modification (including techniques such as gene editing) would not make the farming system more resilient to extreme weather, reduce biodiversity loss, or result in healthier food and fairer incomes for farmers, and because of the risks they pose, must be controlled by the existing laws.

It asks key questions as to who will benefit from this new generation of GMOs, who does the technology empower, who does it disempower and who owns it? It also argues for support for genuine solutions that will benefit farmers, consumers and nature in our crisis-engulfed world.

17.12.2020 |

EU Parliament votes against further approvals of GE plants

Testbiotech urges the EU Commission to get active

17 December 2020 / Today the EU Parliament adopted by a large majority several resolutions proposed by the Greens/EFA Group against further EU market approvals of genetically engineered plants. Five applications were filed by Bayer (Monsanto) and Syngenta for maize and soybeans that are resistant to herbicides and/or produce insecticides.

The EU Parliament has adopted more than 50 resolutions since December 2015 against new import approvals for GE plants. However, these votes are not binding for the EU Commission, which approved all of these GE plants for import. According to Testbiotech, the renewed strong evidence for huge gaps in EFSA risk assessment cannot be ignored in the upcoming decision-making.

11.11.2020 |

EU Committee: Is Cibus SU Canola a GMO or not? What is the test good for?

Our new test keeps authorities and institutions busy. On 12 November 2020, it is on the agenda of the "Regulatory Committee 2001/18" of the EU, where representatives of all member states exchange views on questions of GMO regulation.

With regard to our detection method, two central questions are still being discussed: Is Cibus SU Canola a genetically modified organism (GMO) under EU law or not? And does a GMO detection test also have to identify the applied technology itself?

We have sent a briefing to the responsible representatives of the governments and authorities of the member states in advance, in which it is explained in detail that Cibus SU Canola is clearly to be considered a GMO under current EU law and would therefore be illegal here without approval.

On the basis of the numerous documents available, there is no doubt that the genome editing technique ODM - called Cibus RTDS by Cibus - was used to produce the rapeseed. Under EU law, this is clearly a GMO.

09.11.2020 |

GMO status of Cibus SU Canola

Brussels – In September, an open-source method to detect a gene-edited, herbicide-resistant canola developed by US company Cibus, was published in the scientific journal Foods.

SU Canola is not authorised for placing on the market in the European Union. Cibus’ subsequent statements that the SU Canola varieties currently on the market in North America are “not gene-edited” have caused some uncertainty about their GMO status, amplified by the European seed industry association’s adoption of that narrative.

This briefing sets out why SU Canola is a regulated GMO under the EU’s GMO laws, and why EU competent authorities must ensure this GMO is not present in EU supply chains.

04.11.2020 |

Genetically modified soybean SYHT0H2

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION

pursuant to Rule 112(2) and (3) of the Rules of Procedure

on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of or produced from genetically modified soybean SYHT0H2 (SYN-ØØØH2-5), pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council

(D068779/01 – 2020/2838(RSP))

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Members responsible: Tilly Metz

Günther Sidl, Anja Hazekamp, Eleonora Evi, Sirpa Pietikäinen

17.09.2020 |

Open letter: Commission turning blind eye to new GMOs

88 civil society and farmers organisations from across Europe are today warning the EU Commission is turning a blind eye to new GMOs and demanding EU health and food safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides keeps new GMOs regulated, in an open letter.

The controversial new generation of food genetic engineering techniques should be subject to EU safety checks and consumer labelling, according to an EU Court of Justice ruling, but the organisations complain the European Commission is not implementing this ruling.

15.09.2020 |

Gene edited crop can’t stand the light of day

On 7 September, Greenpeace and others announced an open source detection test for the first gene-edited crop on the market, SU Canola, developed by US company Cibus. The test was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Foods.

SU Canola is a rapeseed engineered with oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis (ODM), a gene editing technique, to withstand spraying with certain herbicides. Products of gene editing fall within the scope of EU GMO law, according to a European Court of Justice ruling of 2018.

09.09.2020 |

Radical transformation of our agricultural system needed, not GMOs

A GREENS/EFA PERSPECTIVE ON GENOME EDITING IN AGRICULTURE

Biodiversity and ecosystems are under extreme threat, with around one million species facing extinction. To avert the worst consequences of runaway climate change, urgent action needs to be taken now.

In order to respond to these unprecedented and closely interlinked crises, our food and agricultural systems need to be rapidly transformed. High input, industrial farming based on monocultures and factory farming must be replaced by high biodiversity, locally adapted food production systems, ones which produce healthy food while respecting animal welfare and the environment.

07.09.2020 |

First open source detection test for a gene-edited GM crop

Brussels – Greenpeace, together with other non-governmental organisations, non-GMO food associations and a food retailer, announced that the first-ever public detection method for a gene-edited crop has been successfully developed and published. The new research refutes claims by the biotech industry and some regulators that new genetically modified (GM) crops engineered with gene editing are indistinguishable from similar, non-GM crops and therefore cannot be regulated.

The new method detects a herbicide-tolerant rapeseed variety that was developed using gene editing, a new form of genetic engineering. It allows European Union (EU) countries to carry out checks to prevent this unauthorised GM crop from entering EU food and feed supply chains illegally.

09.07.2020 |

The EU must not de-regulate gene-edited crops and foods

Some members of the outgoing EU Commission and the agbiotech lobby want the regulations governing genetically modified crops and foods relaxed or scrapped to open markets for gene-edited products. But this goes against the science underpinning the technology and could put the public and environment at risk, writes Dr Michael Antoniou.

Dr Michael Antoniou is molecular geneticist at King’s College London

Some members of the outgoing European Commission want to change the EU legislation on genetically modified (GM) foods and crops to accommodate the products of new gene-editing techniques, often called “new plant breeding techniques” or NBTs.

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said DG SANTE “has already prepared the ground for a new initiative on gene editing to overhaul the current GMO legislation”. The “initiative” will be taken up by the new Commission after this year’s elections.

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