EPSO welcomes the position adopted by a plenary vote of the European Parliament on New Genomic Techniques (NGT). The vote was held on the proposal by the European Commission, presented on July 5th 2023, to adopt new legislation regarding plants bred using certain NGTs such as CRISPR/Cas9. According to the proposal, NGT plants will be exempted from European GMO legislation, provided that the induced changes can also be obtained using conventional breeding methods.

The position adopted by the European Parliament raises some uncertainties that should be amended in the upcoming trialogue between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission:

  • We strongly suggest legislators not to require specific labelling of NGT-1 plants since these will be essentially identical to plants bred using conventional breeding methods.
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) should not be included in the NGT legislation because IPR issues are handled in separate legislation.
  • EPSO welcomes that the parliament accounts for the genome size and structure of polyploid plants and other plants with large genomes addressing such complexities in a scientific correct manner and meet EPSO’s concern about the limit of 20 genome modifications specified in Annex I of the draft provided by the EC.
  • The complete rewording of Annex I according to the Amendments from the Parliament contains several points that would at least distort scientific findings and the actual breeding process. We therefore strongly recommend essentially retaining the structure and references of Annex I developed by the EC.

With these conditions, EPSO believes the proposed legislation allows a balanced compromise, enabling the development of climate-resilient crops and increased productivity for European farmers. EPSO, therefore, urges the EU member states to promptly come together in support of a scientifically sound and timely NGT legislation.

EPSO identified key components in the legal proposal that should be protected in the Annex Must-protect components of the NGT legislation proposed by the European Commission , 19.01.2024 to the EPSO statement:

  • The criteria for determining NGT1 status should be based on similarity to what can be obtained using conventional breeding methods.
  • Products derived from NGT1 plants should not be labelled.
  • Text on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) should not be included in the NGT legislation.

EPSO provided detailed comments and suggested a few improvements to the legal proposal in the EPSO statement on the European Commission’s legal proposal …, 06.11.2023. For example:

  • The criteria for determining NGT1 should be counted per a basic set of chromosomes.
  • Legislation should further enable field trials for scientific purposes.
  • NGT1 plants should not be excluded from organic farming practices.

EPSO looks forward to engaging as a major stakeholder with Member States, the European Parliament and the European Commission to achieve a well-balanced regulation. EPSO will continue providing scientific input in the course of the discussions with policy makers and other stakeholders.

 Read the full EPSO Comment to the EP vote, 14.2.2024

Read the full EPSO Annex must protect to the statement, 19.1.2024

Read the full EPSO statement to the EC’s legal proposal for a Regulation …on plants obtained by certain NGTs and their food and feed”, 5.11.2023.

EC legal proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on plants obtained by certain new genomic techniques and their food and feed & Annexes, 5.7.2023


Jens Sundström, SLU Uppsala, EPSO Chair WG Agricultural Technologies

Alan Schulman, LUKE / FI, EPSO Chair WG Agricultural Technologies

Odd Arne Rognli, NMBU / NO, EPSO President

Karin Metzlaff, EPSO, Executive Director