- ENGA is the voice of the non-GMO food and feed sector at the EU level.
- ENGA secures and supports the expansion of non-GMO production that has developped an established and trusted quality standard and has become an important European market factor.
- ENGA advocates for the strict regulation of old and new GMOs – in order to keep untested and invisible GMOs from entering the EU food and feed chains.
- ENGA represents national non-GMO industries and economic operators (agriculture, food and feed processing, retail, certification) as a single European association.
- ENGA supports consumers in their choice for a GMO-free agriculture by promoting food that excludes GMO plants in production chains.
- ENGA advocates for EU legislation and policies that guarantee non-GMO production in the long term;
- ENGA establishes a permanent link with EU institutions and other international bodies to represent, defend and communicate the interests of its members;
- ENGA facilitates and co-ordinates the positions and activities of its members regarding integration and harmonisation of production and monitoring standards within the non-GMO sector at the EU level;
- ENGA enables a regular exchange of trends, experiences and information on scientific, technical, economic and political issues of non-GMO food and feed production; and
- ENGA provides support for EU member states, European countries, business platforms, institutions and companies in the European Economic Area that wish to establish and/or participate in a credible non-GMO labelling system
- ENGA will initiate and organise a process aimed at establishing a pan-European harmonisation of standards and requirements for non-GMO production and monitoring / certification. This will help to overcome existing differences within the mainly national non-GMO labelling systems across Europe and to proactively counter market distortions and the resulting economic costs.
- ENGA will defend the current EU GMO legislation as the basis for the non-GMO value chain. A deregulation of products manufactured using the techniques of new genetic engineering (so called “genome editing”) could result in significant losses to the non-GMO sector, with the possibility of destroying it completely.
- ENGA will offer an information service that provides regular updates on non-GMO production and labelling and GMO and non-GMO legislative, market and political developments in European countries and at the EU level.
- ENGA will be a driving force to increase and improve cooperation and exchange among all participants of the European non-GMO market.
Differing non-GMO labelling standards lead to market distortions. ENGA will establish a process aimed at harmonising EU-wide the meaning of non-GMO production and how it has to be verified.
Although “non-GMO” is an established quality standard in a growing number of European countries and is equally important for consumers, manufacturers and retailers, it is far from uniform: what non-GMO means varies from country to country. Differing national laws and/or industry agreements lead to inconsistent production and monitoring specifications in different countries, which in turn result in increasing distortions within the EU single market. Bilateral negotiations aimed at achieving mutual recognition of non-GMO standards are time-consuming and costly and often not feasible, especially if diverging criteria are regulated by country-specific laws.
It is therefore crucial to develop and implement a common European approach to non-GMO labelling. Such a common approach will support food and feed producers, processors and marketers in an increasingly pan-European market. It will allow them to profit from equal requirements for production and certification for food and feed. It will also enhance consumer confidence, as consumers expect transparent, comparable and credible criteria for food and feed labelling.
EU GMO legislation is under threat. ENGA will advocate for proper implementation of the judgement of the European Court of Justice: the precautionary principle, risk assessment, detectability, traceability and labelling have to be applied to all new GMOs.
In July 2018 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) classified new genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR/Cas and the resulting products as GMOs. Since then the pressure of different lobby groups to soften or even abolish the EU GMO legislation has increased enormously. Voices have been raised to deregulate all or some new GMOs. Deregulation would mean the abolishment of risk assessment and labelling. Food and feed produced with new genetic engineering techniques would enter the market untested and invisible to economic operators and consumers.
All non-GMO systems are based on the labelling of genetically engineered food and feed according to EU law. This means that, in order to use a non-GMO label breeders, farmers, beekeepers, food and feed processors and retailers must know which products have been produced with genetic engineering. A non-GMO sector that cannot reliably exclude new GMOs would quickly become vulnerable and obsolete.
Any GMO cultivation in the EU leads to an extension of monitoring efforts and costs for the non-GMO food and feed sector. ENGA will oppose any new authorisations for GMO cultivation in Europe.
The cultivation of GMOs in the EU is a particular challenge: costly measures must be taken to avoid contamination of harvests and to keep GMOs continually out of the value chains. At present, genetically engineered maize is cultivated on a significant scale only in Spain. If further approvals for cultivation were to be granted, this would result in higher costs for the non-GMO sector. Due to the absence of a polluter-pays principle in the EU it would be up to the non-GMO sector to pay for monitoring, analyses, and segregation. The more GMOs are cultivated in European fields, the more complex and costly the segregation measures would be.