Blank cheque for the genetic engineering industry
1. The EU fulfils wishes of the genetic engineering corporations – Swiss Alliance Gentechfrei SAG
2. Blank check for the genetic engineering industry – AbL e.V.
1. The EU fulfils wishes of the genetic engineering corporations – Switzerland must exercise more caution
Swiss Alliance Gentechfrei SAG, 5 July 2023
Things are about to get much easier for the genetic engineering corporations: The EU Commission announced today that it wants to facilitate market access for products manufactured with the so-called new genetic engineering. In the future, companies will no longer have to test these products for risks. They should also no longer have to be declared as GM products. The Swiss Alliance Gentechfrei SAG demands that Switzerland exercise more caution: The risks to humans and the environment must not be disregarded simply because an industry demands it. SAG is therefore calling on Syngenta, BASF, Bayer and Corteva to respect the wishes of consumers in a campaign that starts today.
"Gentech companies such as Syngenta, Bayer, BASF and Corteva must accept that Swiss consumers do not want genetic engineering on their plates and in the environment," demands Isabel Sommer, Executive Director of the Swiss Alliance Gentechfrei SAG. SAG is launching a public appeal to the GM companies today, which the public can sign. Sommer said: "We demand that the genetic engineering corporations, with their financial superiority, do not influence the democratic process in Switzerland."
The EU Commission largely listened to the wishes of the genetic engineering industry: The Commission wants to relax regulations for certain plants produced using the new genetic engineering methods (CRISPR/Cas gene scissors). In the future, a large proportion of these plants could end up on consumers' plates without declaration and without risk assessment and be spread in the environment and ecosystems. "This would be an almost complete deregulation of new genetic engineering and would also mean the end of GMO-free conventional and organic agriculture in the EU," says Isabel Sommer.
The precautionary principle, according to which GM products must be tested before they are introduced to the market, would no longer apply. Critical countries such as Germany and Austria, which had warned against this step, were not able to assert their position and, according to the new regulations, will no longer be allowed to go their own way and dispense with genetic engineering altogether.
Important decisions on new genetic engineering are also pending in Switzerland.
The Federal Council is working on a proposal on behalf of Parliament, which it intends to present next year. In view of this, the SAG has drawn up a position paper together with around 60 supporting organisations. We demand:
* That so-called "new genetic engineering" continues to be treated the same as conventional genetic engineering. This is because genetic engineering also specifically interferes with the genetic material of living organisms and plants. In the case of new genetic engineering methods in particular, the consequences for the environment and people have not yet been researched sufficiently.
* All genetically modified products must continue to be labeled as such! Only thanks to this transparency do consumers have the power to decide whether they buy and consume genetic engineering - or not.
* That coexistence and liability are ensured. Effective measures are needed to prevent the mixing of products with and without genetic engineering. The costs must be borne by the polluters.
Scientific assessment of the EU proposal, by SAG
For the scientific assessment by ENSSER (European Network of Scientists for Social Environmental Responsibility)
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Source: Swiss Alliance for a GMO-free Agriculture (SAG): https://www.gentechfrei.ch/de/themen/moratorium/gentechnikrecht/3494-die-eu-erfuellt-wuensche-der-gentech-konzerne-die-schweiz-muss-mehr-vorsicht-walten-lassen
2. Blank cheque for the genetic engineering industry
* [German Agriculture Minister] Cem Özdemir must reject legislative proposal on new genetic technologies
Annemarie Volling, genetic engineering expert of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL e.V.) ["Working Group for Rural Agriculture"], comments on the EU Commission's legislative proposal on deregulation of new genetic engineering published today as follows:
"We will not allow the right to GMO-free production of food and the right to know what we breed, sow, harvest, process, sell and eat to be undermined. The AbL calls on Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir and all responsible politicians and ministries to reject the unacceptable legislative proposal on new genetic technologies."
In the AbL's view, today's legislative proposal by the EU Commission aims at an almost complete deregulation of new genetic engineering plants. If the proposal were to go through in this way, it would be the end of GMO-free conventional and organic agriculture and food production. Volling explains:
"GMO-free conventional and organic food production is a major competitive advantage for European farmers. These valuable markets are now to be carelessly sacrificed in favour of hypothetical industry promises. For us farmers, it is clear that we will not be able to solve the climate, biodiversity and hunger crises with the new genetically modified crops.
"Farmers and food processors have built up their markets by investing, in some cases heavily, in GMO-free farming. Today's proposed legislation would deprive them of any basis for doing so. It threatens the livelihoods of farmers and artisans. It disregards the interests of the GMO-free value chain and of consumers who want to continue to eat GMO-free.
"Instead, the EU Commission is issuing a blank cheque to the genetic engineering corporations. They are to be able to bring their GM plants onto the market without any risk assessment, without compulsory labelling right up to the product, without traceability and without liability claims. In this way, they would create dependencies through the back door with genetic engineering and thus secure their profits.
"We farmers and society as a whole will not accept that we should be left to bear the foreseeable consequential damage of genetically modified risk products. The corporations want to get a grip on food production, from seed to plate. Why should we allow that to happen?"
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)