On 29 April 2021, the European Commission published a working document on the legal future of ‘New Genomic Techniques’ in Europe. In its document, the Commission appears to be convinced that new genetic engineering techniques (NGTs) are an important part of their wider sustainability agenda and in line with the EU Green Deal and the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
This study could set into motion a European process exploring options for a new legal framework if EU Member States give their green light. If the Ministers of the Member States go along with the line of the Commission, a new legal framework could create a challenging situation. This is because on the one hand, the Commission seeks to increase organic land and agro-ecological production, and on the other hand they also intend to promote farming systems relying on GMOs. The organic food and farming movement criticizes the Commission’s plan to take NGTs out of the existing legal framework applying to GMOs in agriculture & food, as it could leave organic food systems unprotected – including its ability to trace GMOs throughout the food chain to avoid contamination leading to economic losses and to live up to organic quality standards and consumer expectations.