Crop Biotech Update

Czech Agri Minister Champions NGTs for EU's Food and Climate

August 30, 2023

As concerns for climate change and the rising global population increase, providing European consumers with safe, affordable, and high-quality food has become crucial. According to Czech Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný, the answer to these challenges might come from advanced scientific techniques such as gene editing.

While the European Commission proposed to relax the rules on new gene editing techniques (NGTs) in July, these techniques are still subject to the GMO Directive with a rigorous authorization process. Minister Výborný pointed out that these techniques are already common worldwide, and Europe can not be left behind.

Agricultural ministers in the European Union are divided over looser gene editing rules. However, the Czech minister admitted that he would like to play an active role and convince European partners about the benefits of NGTs. He also emphasized that the issue of NGTs and their difference from GMOs should be well explained to the public. “If it is possible, even through informal discussions, to move things in the right direction, I will be the first to do so,” Výborný said.

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