Responding to the first discussions between EU agriculture ministers on the regulatory future of a new generation of GMOs, Mute Schimpf, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“Farming ministers and the rest of the EU need to stop wasting time and resources trying to find loopholes to push new, untested GMOs onto our fields and plates without any safety protocols. The last thing we need is a raft of patented crops designed to prop up the industrial farming system that EU decision-makers should be working to dismantle. Instead of putting more money in the hands of the biotech industry, we need to urgently invest in small-scale farming and agroecology.”
European agriculture ministers discussed the future of a new generation of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). These key discussions are the lead-up to a decision on whether or not ‘new’ GMOs should be subject to safety checks or labelling before being allowed on the EU market.
Opinion is divided between countries on the regulatory future of new GMOs:
- Belgium and Luxembourg were concerned about excluding GMOs from safety regulations.
- Denmark and the Netherlands backed exempting some new GMOs.
- The Irish agriculture minister called for long-term benefits and risks to be assessed, and stressed consumers’ needs to take well informed decisions. Germany’s farming minister welcomes the study but underlined the need to maintain the precautionary principle. The French minister backed safety check exemptions, but also called to ensure that more herbicide resistant crops cannot be grown.
A 2018 ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that new GMOs should not be excluded from EU safety and labelling rules and underlined that the potential risks posed by new GMOs: “might prove to be similar to those that result from the production and release of a GMO through transgenesis.” 
Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on the European Commission, Council, and Parliament to uphold the ECJ ruling. This would be the most efficient way to ensure that only safe crops can be grown within the EU, consumers maintain their right to take well-informed decisions and promote genuinely innovative, environmental-friendly food systems.
Report: Green light for new GMOs? Friends of the Earth Europe analysis of the European Commission’s stakeholder consultation: https://friendsoftheearth.eu/press-release/green-light-for-new-gmos