German and Austrian agriculture ministers oppose EU proposal to deregulate gene-edited plants
Published: July 31, 2023
Category: GMO News
While the agriculture ministers from Germany and Austria strongly dispute the deregulation of new genetic techniques (NGTs), they are unlikely to block the EU’s proposal with so many countries and government bodies in favor of it. More probable is an attempt to negotiate as a united front—to protect their organic sectors and prevent large corporations from patenting new breeds which will not carry a GMO label.
The proposal—which would partially deregulate NGTs and treat them like conventionally bred plants—has met favorably with Parliament except from the green environmental organizations. France and Spain, powerful influencers in the European Council, are in favor.
“The precautionary principle must continue to be taken into account,” said German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir in a statement. “Whether the present draft does justice to this must be doubted,” he added.
Norbert Totschnig, Austria’s agriculture minister, added, “Austria’s agriculture is GMO-free in cultivation, and we want to maintain this pioneering role.” Austria, a strong organic player with 25% of its arable land dedicated to organic farming, fears danger to its organic sector from contamination. In addition, it also exports a large amount of conventional but certified GMO-free food.
“Coexistence with organic production must be guaranteed,” Totschnig said.
Both ministers fear the lack of transparency will prevent producers and consumers from being able to choose non-GMO products.
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Organic & Non-GMO Insights August 2023