Resolution says adherence to the precautionary principle, along with risk assessment, traceability, and labelling, remains essential for new GM
German youth organisations have published a strong resolution on the topic of new genetic engineering from the perspective of young people who would like to make – or have just started to make – a livelihood in the food sector, whether production, processing or marketing.
The resolution strongly opposes the EU Commission's plan to deregulate new genetic engineering techniques and demands the continued freedom to produce organic and non-GMO foods. The youth organisations want thorough risk assessment for new GMOs, traceability, labelling that includes the final product, and the ability to protect the food chain from GMO contamination.
Their call counters narratives by pro-GMO lobbyists that younger people are more accepting of new GM technologies and products.
The resolution says:
"German youth associations demand that the EU genetic engineering legislation continues to provide a clear framework that makes GMO-free agriculture and food production possible and protects it.
"We want to be able to continue to produce, breed, grow, process, market and consume high quality food, whether organic or conventional, that is free of genetic engineering. In our view, this requires resilient agro-ecological agricultural systems that focus on environmental and climate protection, and food security.
"As young people, we depend on the existing diversity and access to it, to face the coming challenges such as the climate crisis or species extinction.
"For us and for all citizens, we want the freedom to decide and choose for ourselves what we grow, breed and eat, through labelling of genetically modified organisms.
"Nature with its biodiversity is the most valuable thing we have. We belong to it and are bound to protect and preserve it from harmful interference of any kind, as far as possible. From our point of view, profit-oriented genetic engineering-based approaches, which only take a one-sided and short-sighted view of the complex challenges of our time, are not an innovation with which we can sustainably shape our future. A focus on processes that entail unforeseeable and irreversible consequences with regard to the complex interactions in the agricultural ecosystem and in nature is not a sustainable path for us. Therefore, adherence to the EU precautionary principle and the associated obligatory risk assessment, authorisation and traceability remain essential for new genetic engineering methods in the view of the youth.
"Deregulation of new genetic engineering methods such as CRISPR-Cas, without comprehensive prior risk assessment and transparent documentation, deprives us on the one hand of our freedom of choice to grow and consume GMO-free food and the possibility to protect ourselves from contamination within the chain. On the other hand, the monopolies and patents of seed companies threaten our access to varieties as well as global breeding beyond the big seed companies. Genetic engineering and patents manifest industrial/intensive production systems, promote dependencies and thus disrupt food sovereignty and diversity worldwide. As young people who want to farm GMO-free, whether organically or conventionally, we need reliable political guardrails that allow us to look to the future with confidence."
The youth associations therefore demand:
* The safeguarding of biodiversity as the basis of life and thus also the right to GMO-free agriculture and food production
* Assurance of freedom of choice and traceability
* An end to patents on life
* Mandatory and comprehensive risk assessment for all new GMOs in accordance with the EU precautionary principle
* The ability to choose – so new GMOs must be labelled throughout the value chain, up to and including the final product
* The protection of GMO-free production from contamination with GMOs
* Traceability, retrievability and detection procedures as a prerequisite for the approval of new GMOs
* Liability of users and distributors for the risk and consequential damage, according to the "polluter pays" principle
* Expansion of research and promotion of resilient agro-ecological agricultural systems.