On 24 January, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, the lead committee for the dossier on New GMOs (or New Genomic Techniques, NGTs), agreed to a deregulation, largely in accordance with the EU Commission’s proposal from July 2023.
Now all eyes are on the Parliament’s plenary session, scheduled between the 5-8 February 2024. In its press release commenting the ENVI vote, ENGA calls for a postponement of the plenary vote: The scientific basis for far-reaching deregulation - the criteria by which NGTs are to be classified as equivalent to conventional breeding - remains exceedingly doubtful, the patent issue is unresolved, the food sector and consumers are actively denied transparency and freedom of choice. This is a step backwards on one of the most controversial issues in food: something I never thought possible.
Should the Parliament’s plenary give the greenlight, it can start the inter-institutional negotiations, known as ‘trilogues’ – assuming that the third trilogue member, the Council, has found a common position, a process the Belgian Presidency is trying to finalise.
Then the clock starts ticking: If by the end of April, the last session of the Parliament in this legislature, there is no final legislative text for the parliamentarians to vote on, a newly elected Commission and a newly elected Parliament will take over the dossier.
What can food companies do? Keep on fighting! For the right to know whether there are New GMOs in food they can join an initiative started by five German companies three weeks ago and now supported by 250 entrepreneurs.
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