Food companies across Europe raise their voices against deregulation of New GMOs


With the path of the legislation for New GMOs (or New Genomic Techniques – NTGs) reaching a preliminary peak with the vote in the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee on the 24th of January, there has been a swell of opinion against the deregulation proposal amongst many companies that make and sell food in Europe.

More than 200 food companies in Germany and more than 40 from other European countries have now signed an open letter to Manfred Weber, German politician and head of the largest group in the European Parliament, the EPP, which appoints the rapporteur in the responsible Environment Committee and, as such someone who holds significant sway in the negotiations. 

The initiative for the Right to Know Whether There Are New GMOs in Food was kicked off on the 9th January by several household name companies in Germany: Alb-Gold, Alnatura, Andechser, dm and Frosta who called on Mr. Weber to advocate for the preservation of labelling and freedom of choice in genetically engineered food. When presenting their initiative at a press conference, they invited all companies from food production and trade in Germany to sign the open letter and many have rallied to the call!

The letter was then made available for food companies across Europe to sign and, so far, has received signatures from more than 40 companies, including A. Loacker AG (IT), Biocoop (FR), La Fourche SAS (FR), Maestrani Schweizer Schokoladen AG (CH), and Sonnentor Kräuterhandels GmbH (AT).

The letter highlights that, as businesses in the food sector, the signatories are fully aware that many consumers are skeptical about genetically modified products and want to decide for themselves whether they want to buy and eat them. They state: “we want to continue to be able to produce and offer products without the use of genetic engineering.” And they warn of the huge market which is at risk in the case of a deregulation as proposed: “In 2022, 16 billion euros were generated in Germany alone with conventional food labelled "Ohne Gentechnik" (Non-GMO) and 15.3 billion euros in the Organic sector."

The letter goes on to warn of the serious risks of the law, including the risk to a competitive European food market, one that thrives on differentiation. By removing the requirement for any traceability or labelling of New GMOs (as proposed by the EPP draft rapporteur’s report), GMOs will no longer be able to be reliably kept out of value chains – both conventional Non-GMO ones and those of the Organic food market – thus putting businesses worth billions of euros at risk.  

Companies wishing to sign the letter can still do so here as the negotiations are ongoing: