The EC proposed to introduce a new classification called NGT, which encompasses genome-edited plants and plants with targeted insertions of new DNA, as long as the DNA originates from the same species or a crossable species. The EC suggest a more relaxed regulation of NGT plants compared to traditionally genetically modified organisms, provided that the genetic changes introduced are similar to those obtained using conventional breeding methods.
Since then, negotiations among the Member States and in European Parliament have introduced several possible amendments to the original legal proposal put forward by the European Commission. Some of the changes threaten the utility of the proposal for improving the current legislation. EPSO has therefore identified key components in the legal proposal that should be protected:
- The criteria for determining NGT1 status should be based on similarity to what can be obtained using conventional breeding methods.
- As long as modifications introduced using NGT are similar to modifications created by conventional breeding methods, EPSO sees no need for criteria based on a risk assessment.
- 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 amendments to the legal proposal in the EPSO statement on the European Commission’s legal proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on plants obtained by certain NGTs and their food and feed…, 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 statement to the EC’s legal proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on plants obtained by certain NGTs and their food and feed, 5.11.2023.
Read the summary that was submitted to the EC consultation on 5.11.2023 [Feedback reference F3442539].
- 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