Public consultation on new genomic techniques still ongoing + Member briefing

The 12-weeks consultation period of the European Commission in the context of the Impact Assessment for new legislation for ‘New Genomic Techniques’ (new genetic engineering techniques or NGTs) is still ongoing. Operators, associations, and citizens have the possibility to express their views until 22 July.

The consultation takes the form of a questionnaire, available on the “Have your say” website. To participate, you need to register or use an existing account.

IFOAM Organics Europe will reply to this consultation, representing the European organic movement. While the Impact Assessment and related public consultation reveal various shortcomings, IFOAM Organics Europe will reply to this consultation on behalf of the European organic movement.

These are the core points that IFOAM Organics Europe will bring forward:

  • A comprehensive legislation should include those provisions that are already in the current legal framework, including risk assessment, traceability, and labelling provisions;
  • Appropriate traceability and labelling provisions that are implementable and enforceable must entail an obligation for all actors in the food chain to ensure traceability. What this means in practice, is that it must be clear for all actors in the production or consumption chain if a product from NGTs was used in the process;
  • As stated by the EU Commission: “application of NGTs in the agri-food system must not undermine other aspects of sustainable food production, e.g. as regards organic agriculture, or biodiversity”. Everything will depend on the existence of a gapless traceability system, addressing the issue of potential income loss for (organic) producers due to contaminations and labelling requirements;
  • Both operators and consumers have different requirements regarding transparency and the means on how information is transmitted. Operators need a gapless traceability system that provides transparency at every stage of the production chain. Consumers need an easy-to-access label on the final product to inform their choice;
  • Finally, a proposed reduction of the concept of sustainability to plant traits would be misleading and does not have the capacity to substantially support the systems change in agriculture that is needed and which organic farming is a part of. A production system can only be sustainable by combining different inputs and agricultural practices that preserve the natural capital (soils, water, biodiversity etc.), not a single plant trait in itself.

We would like to encourage stakeholders in the sector and movement to take this opportunity to express your views as well until 22 July!

Our members can join an ad hoc information session on the topic on 1 July, from 11:00-12:00. Read more about our member extranet.

For more information on GMOs and new GMOs and IFOAM Organics Europe’s work on this issue, please contact [email protected]. IFOAM Organics Europe members can find more information on the member extranet and background materials in the arguments database on the member extranet (main messages, arguments/FAQs, visuals & videos). Contact [email protected] for access rights (issues).

For information about what you can gain from being a member, read our membership page and contact [email protected].

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