New Plan: Legal Certainty

Trade and politics
Published on 15-09-2015
Nathalie Moll, EuropaBio Secretary General

The Commission has told MEPs and ministers that it has no ‘plan B’ if the proposal to enable national bans on the ‘use’ of GMOs is rejected. It is the whole food and feed chain’s hope that this means that should the proposal be rejected, the institutions will start to abide to existing legislation and approve safe products according to legislative timelines. This would reinstate the much needed legal certainty for all operators and align GMO approvals with the timely approvals of all other regulated products.  

It is very concerning to see that a number of Member States continue to regularly vote against EFSA’s positive opinions on GMO approvals given that this leads to confusion in the general public as to the safety of products and the reliability of the European approval system to ensure that safety. An effort should be made to disseminate information about the existence of the approval process for GMOs and what it means in terms of product safety, to respond to any confusion and push back against unfounded scaremongering.  

The biotech industry welcomed the authorisation of 17 GM products for imports in April. Attention must now turn to the over 40 additional GMO applications for import still pending in the system, among which 5 have already received a positive EFSA opinion.

In addition to this, now would be a good time for the Commission to finally put forth a proposal that has been requested by Member States since 2006 i.e. solutions for testing and sampling of traces of GMOs in seeds, as well as in food, which would provide the legal certainty for the whole food chain that has been lacking in these areas. 

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GMOs are already an integral part of our daily lives, as Europe benefits from this key enabling technology mainly indirectly through imports. We wear GM cotton clothes, we pay with GM cotton banknotes, and each year European farmers rely on imports of GM soybeans as a key protein source for their farm animals.

 

Here’s some good food for thought for all European citizens, experts, journalists and decision makers. Our society needs to address the issue of producing more food with less land, as the world population will reach at least 9 billion people by 2050.

 

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