The EU Commission is planning to deregulate New GE

On September 24, 2021, the European Commission released its Inception Impact Assessment on "Legislation for plants produced by certain new genomic techniques". It is based on a prior working paper on the legal position of new genomic techniques (NGT) under EU legislation. This project offers a legal framework for plants and food and feed products derived through targeted mutagenesis and cisgenesis. The objective is to maintain a high level of environmental and human health protection, allow agri-food system innovation, and contribute to the European Green Deal and the "Farm to Fork" strategic goals.    

According to the study, plants derived from NGTs have the potential to contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal, specifically the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, as well as the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a more resilient and sustainable agri-food system. Plants that are more resistant to pests, diseases, and environmental conditions, as well as the impacts of climate change, are examples of possible advantages. Moreover, according to the Commission, NGTs may also enhance plant nutritional content for better meals, as well as decrease the amount of hazardous chemicals such as toxins and allergies. Simultaneously, the research raised concerns about the use of these technologies, including as their possible safety and environmental effects, including biodiversity, coexistence with organic and GM-free agriculture, and labeling and consumers' right to knowledge and freedom of choice.    

The issue that this initiative is attempting to address is that NGTs are controlled under GMO laws. However, according to the Commission research, the present law is no longer fit for purpose and must be updated to reflect scientific and technical advancements for certain NGTs and their products. According to the Commission, the present framework is based on biotechnology techniques/methods as they were known in the late 1990s. This makes it challenging to keep up with the fast-developing field of NGTs.    

The policy solutions will be created based on this Initiative, as well as any additional aspects that may arise through public feedback, which will be accepted until October 2021, and from the consultation activities.