On July 25, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that crops produced using the gene editing technique mutagenesis should be subject to laws restricting the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The ruling stated that organisms obtained by new mutagenesis techniques are GMOs within the meaning of the current GMO Directive, in so far as the techniques and methods of mutagenesis alter the genetic material of an organism in a way that does not occur naturally. The ECJ also ruled that the GMO Directive does not apply to mutagenesis techniques that have already been used conventionally in a number of applications and have a long safety record.
The ECJ ruling is very concerning to NAEGA. It reinforces and validates the need for information on what gene edited seeds are being used and where they are being used. It also reinforces the need for low level presence provisions to support compliance with asynchronized national reregulation and meet trade and consumer needs. The International Grain Trade Coalition will be encouraged by NAEGA to more aggressively move its policy forward and the NAEGA Production Technologies Committee will need to work with renewed urgency and intensity in efforts to prevent the use of these new plant breeding technologies from causing debacles in trade like those we continue to experience from seeds produced with transgenic biotechnology.
A related press release from the ECJ can be found here.