Biotech Updates

EU Commission: First Suggestions for a New Gene Technology Policy

May 13, 2010

The European Union Commission presented in an internal strategy paper the first suggestions for a new gene technology policy. The new policy will allow the continuous conduct of the general approval to GM plants in an EU-wide, binding procedure based on a scientific safety assessment and at the same time allow member states to prohibit or cultivate genetically modified (GM) plants on their territory. The European Commission will try to make policy changes within the existing legislative framework and revive the discussion on gene technology to be able to make decisions that are clear and comprehensible to the public.

The paper also presented some suggestions in dealing with requests for cultivation ban on a GM plant. Cases cited include: when the primary motivation of such a ban is political; if the plant in question already has been assessed to be safe and approved in the EU; and the use of ‘socio-economic criteria' to be the basis of the cultivation ban.

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