Commission urged to clamp down on illegal GMO releases and imports
In the wake of the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that certain new techniques of genetic engineering do fall under EU legislation on GMOs, a coalition of NGOs including GMWatch has written to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asking him to take action against EU member states that have permitted field trials with new GMOs outside the GMO legal framework. The "rogue" member states include the UK, Sweden, Finland, and Belgium.
The NGOs' letter calls on Juncker to remind EU member states that they must stop all ongoing and planned releases in the environment that are not in accordance with the GMO legislation. Should a member state fail to comply immediately, then the Commission should launch an infringement procedure. The letter also asks Juncker to enable EU member states to ensure that GMOs derived from new genetic engineering techniques do not enter the EU without market authorisation. For this purpose, the EU should task the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL) to develop methods for the detection of GMOs (authorised and unauthorised) developed through new genetic engineering techniques.
The ECJ’s decision comes at a time when a first product developed with the use of one of these new GM techniques, the Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS), is already grown in parts of the US and Canada. The US company marketing this herbicide-tolerant GM oilseed rape, Cibus, has informed the Commission’s services that this product was “likely entering the international commodity chain” and that “it can therefore not be excluded that commodities with RTDS products are imported in the EU”.
The NGOs add in their letter that Juncker should ask breeders and seed companies to exercise full transparency on techniques used to breed, select and multiply varieties marketed in the EU and developed since the adoption of the relevant GMO legislation in 2001.
1. Letter from Cibus Europe B.V. to DG Health and Consumers, 27 January 2015. https://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/attachments/12.pdf
Letter from NGOs to President Juncker: https://gmwatch.org/en/18398-ngos-letter-to-president-juncker