GMO news related to Austria

20.11.2023 |

Open Letter: Serious concerns about the EU Commission proposal on New Genomic Techniques

The European Commission has launched a proposal for the (de-)regulation of new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or New Genomic Techniques (NGTs). As academics, from a vast range of disciplines, including agroecology, political ecology, rural sociology, molecular biology, environmental history, population genetics, evolutionary biology, ecology, agronomy and innovation studies, we are very concerned about the quality of this legislative proposal, the process by which it came into being, and the social, economic and environmental impacts it will have, should it be adopted. Moreover, we have serious questions about the way in which climate and sustainability goals are being used to justify this (de-)regulation.

16.11.2023 |


Appeal: Regulate new genetic engineering and repair patent loopholes!

Brussels/Vienna, November 17, 2023 – Ahead of the EU Agriculture Councilexternal link, opens in a new tabOn November 20th, the signatory organizations sounded the alarm to the agriculture ministers: “We are deeply concerned about the growing flood of patent applications for new genetic engineering seeds and NGT plants in Europe. This uncontrolled development has negative impacts on breeders, farmers and food production. We are at a crucial point where we must set the course for the future of our agriculture and biodiversity. Agriculture Minister Totschnig is now required to forge alliances with other EU agriculture ministers in order to avert these dangerous developments for Austria's agriculture! ", say the international organizations ARCHE NOAH, the small farmers' association European Coordination Vía Campesina, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Corporate Europe Observatory, FIAN International, ENGA - European Non-GMO Industry Association, NO PATENTS ON SEEDS! and GLOBAL 2000.

16.11.2023 |

Raise our forks for diversity!

Sign the petition to EU decision makers!

The new EU seed law proposed by the European Commission in July 2023 threatens the conservation and circulation of crop diversity. It disregards farmers’ right to harvest, use, exchange and sell their own seeds, as enshrined in international law. It is unacceptable.

06.11.2023 |


We asked the Austrian EU representatives: What do politicians think about the labeling requirement, risk assessment and tracing of new genetic engineering?

On November 7th, the Environment Committee of the EU Parliament will discuss the proposed law to deregulate New Genetic Engineering (NGT). The EU Commission is planning far-reaching deregulation of the majority of plants to which NGT methods have been used.

“If the Commission has its way, risk assessment, labeling, freedom of choice, traceability and the possibility of national cultivation restrictions should no longer apply in the future”


27.10.2023 |

Rules for New Genomic Techniques

Position Paper October 2023 Consumers

On July 5, 2023, the European Commission published a proposed regulation that provides for new regulations for plants produced using new genetic engineering (NGT). The EU Commission divides NGT plants into two categories with different requirements. NGT Category 1 plants are classified like conventionally grown plants. According to the draft regulation, there is no risk assessment for human health and the environment for this category, no labeling for consumers as a genetically modified organism, no traceability of genetic engineering along the value chain and no detection procedures.

20.10.2022 |

Two biotech giants are endangering our nutrition with patents and new genetic engineering

Brussels/Vienna, October 20, 2022 –The two biotech companies Corteva and Bayer have accumulated hundreds of patent applications on plants in recent years. Corteva has filed 1,430 patents - more than any other company - on crops using genetic engineering methods. A joint international research by GLOBAL 2000, Friends of the Earth Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), ARCHE NOAH, IG Saatgut - interest group for GMO-free seed work and Vienna Chamber of Labor examines this flood of patents against the background of the currently discussed deregulation of EU genetic engineering law with imminent Exceptions for New Genetic Engineering (NGT). "The growing number of patent applications to increase the profits of these NGT methods reveals the double play of the corporations," say the authors of the report published today.

14.12.2020 |

Still no solution for prohibiting patents on plants and animals

No Patents on Seeds! is starting an online petition for a moratorium

14 December 2020 / Today, No Patents on Seeds! is starting an international appeal for a moratorium on patent applications covering plants and animals to stop the European Patent Office (EPO) from granting more patents on conventional breeding.

PetitionThe background: the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO) will meet tomorrow. Patents on seeds are one of the issues that should be on the agenda of the representatives from the 38 contracting states. After more than ten years of controversial debate, the EPO finally decided to prohibit patents on conventionally bred plants and animals. However, patents are still granted on random mutation breeding. No Patents on Seeds! is demanding that this practice is stopped. Several hundred conventionally bred varieties have already been patented in Europe.

28.04.2020 |

Gene Drives at Tipping Points

Precautionary Technology Assessment and Governance of New Approaches to Genetically Modify Animal and Plant Populations

This open access book reports on a pilot project aiming at collecting information on the socio-ecological risks that could arise in the event of an uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered organisms into the environment. The researchers will, for instance, be taking a closer look at genetically engineered oilseed rape, genetically engineered olive flies as well as plants and animals with so-called gene drives. The book mainly adresses researchers.

Arnim von Gleich1

Winfried Schröder2

1.Department of Technological Design and Development, Faculty Production EngineeringUniversity of BremenBremenGermany

2.Lehrstuhl für LandschaftsökologieUniversität VechtaVechtaGermany

12.06.2019 |

Austria moves to ban glyphosate this year

Glyphosate is the subject of a heated debate over whether it causes cancer.

Austria is heading toward a likely ban of glyphosate this year after the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) backed the Social Democrats' drive to end usage of the controversial weedkiller.

"There are enough studies that adequately demonstrate the risk that glyphosate poses to the environment and human health," the FPÖ's new party leader, Norbert Hofer, said Wednesday. "It is therefore a sign of responsible environmental policy to put this ban on track."

Glyphosate is the subject of a heated debate in Europe and the U.S. over whether the weedkiller causes cancer.

20.12.2018 |

European Court of Justice ruling regarding new genetic engineering methods scientifically justified: a commentary on the biased reporting about the recent ruling

Eva Gelinsky and Angelika HilbeckEmail author

Environmental Sciences Europe201830:52© The Author(s) 2018

Received: 1 October 2018Accepted: 5 December 2018Published: 20 December 2018

In July 2018, the European Court of Justice (Case C-528/16) ruled that organisms obtained by directed mutagenesis techniques are to be regarded as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within the meaning of Directive 2001/18. The ruling marked the next round of the dispute around agricultural genetic engineering in Europe. Many of the pros and cons presented in this dispute are familiar from the debate around the first generation of genetic engineering techniques. The current wave of enthusiasm for the new genetic engineering methods, with its claim to make good on the failed promises of the previous wave, seems to point more to an admission of failure of the last generation of genetic engineering than to a true change of paradigm. Regulation is being portrayed as a ban on research and use, which is factually incorrect, and the judges of the European Court of Justice are being defamed as espousing “pseudoscience”. Furthermore, this highly polarised position dominates the media reporting of the new techniques and the court’s ruling. Advocates of the new genetic engineering techniques appear to believe that their benefits are so clear that furnishing reliable scientific evidence is unnecessary. Meanwhile, critics who believe that the institution of science is in a serious crisis are on the increase not just due to the cases of obvious documented scientific misconduct by companies and scientists, but also due to the approach of dividing the world into those categorically for or against genetic engineering. In this construct of irreconcilable opposites, differentiations fall by the wayside. This article is a response to this one-sided and biased reporting, which often has the appearance of spin and lacks journalistic ethics that require journalists to report on different positions in a balanced and factual manner instead of taking positions and becoming undeclared advocates themselves.

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