Biotech Updates

Change Needed for Europe's Assessment and Approval Process for Genome‐Edited Crops

July 10, 2019

The use and release of genetically modified (GM) crops are under the regulation of the European Commission. However, after two decades of GM crops being sold commercially in the US, the European Union (EU) only approved two GM crop varieties licensed to be cultivated: MON810 and Amflora potato.

According to a perspective article written by Nigel Halford of Rothamsted Research, GM crop developers are currently focused more on seeking permission to use GM crops for feed and food, instead of developing new GM crop varieties. Furthermore, the meaning of GM in the context of crop biotechnology is also not well defined. Because of this, there is an uncertainty on how genome-edited crops should be regulated. Concurrently, Member States impose national bans on GM crops without concrete evidence of safety concerns. 

Given the current situation and system of regulation, there is an assurance that no biotech company would want to develop new GM crops in the EU. This does not only affect European agriculture, but also the global commodity market and supply. Therefore, there is an urgent need for change in the attitudes and regulatory system of GM crops.

For more details, read the full article in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.