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New Genomic Techniques: MEPs back rules to support green transition of farmers
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: February 16, 2024 09:12AM

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) adopted a position for
negotiations with member states on the Commission proposal on New Genomic
Techniques (NGTs), with 307 votes to 263 and 41 abstentions. The positive
vote aims for a more sustainable and resilient food system by developing
improved plant varieties that are climate resilient, pest resistant, and
give higher yields or that require fewer fertilizers and pesticides.

In the European Union, all plants obtained through NGTs are subject to the
same rules as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). MEPs agree with the
proposal to have two different categories and two sets of rules for NGT
plants. NGT 1 plants considered equivalent to conventional ones would be
exempted from the requirements of the GMO legislation, whereas other NGT
plants (NGT 2 plants) would still have to follow stricter requirements.
Mandatory labeling of products from both NGT 1 and NGT 2 plants will be
maintained. Likewise, MEPs want a full ban on patents for all NGT plants,
plant material, parts thereof, genetic information, and process features
they contain, to avoid legal uncertainties, increased costs, and new
dependencies for farmers and breeders.

For NGT 1 plants, MEPs want to amend the size and number of modifications
needed for a NGT plant to be considered equivalent to conventional plants.
To ensure transparency, MEPs agree to set up a public online list of all NGT
1 plants. For NGT 2 plants, MEPs agree to maintain most of the requirements
of the GMO legislation.

The European Food Safety Authority has evaluated the potential safety issues
of NGTs. Several NGT products are already or in the process of becoming
available on the market outside the EU (e.g. bananas in the Philippines that
do not go brown, with the potential to reduce food waste and CO2 emissions).
After the vote, the EU Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with
member states on the final law.


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