Biotech Updates

EU Calls for Study to Justify 2018 Legislation on Gene Editing

December 11, 2019

In 2018, the landmark decision by the European Court of Justice changed the way gene editing technology should be treated under EU law. The ruling was followed by endless disputes and ongoing debates ending in the ruling that plants and animals created using this technology should be treated and regulated under the GMO Directive as though they were genetically modified.

The European Union has now requested the Commission to conduct a study to achieve clarity on the situation. Finnish agriculture minister Jari Leppa said the council requested the study on "options to update the existing legislation" and that "if necessary, the Commission must be prepared to submit a proposal to amend the GMO directive". The study needs to be submitted before April 2021 to answer "practical questions which have consequences for the national competent authorities, the Union's industry, in particular in the plant breeding sector, research and beyond" – a concern that was raised when the legislation came into place.

The study must also include a solution to the issue of how the EU can "ensure compliance when products obtained by means of NBTs cannot be distinguished, using current methods, from products resulting from natural mutation". It says the Commission should "submit a proposal, if appropriate in view of the outcomes of the study".

For more details, read the article in EU Policies.

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