Retail groups call on strict regulation of new genetic engineering
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
Leading food retailers from Germany and Austria such as Edeka, Lidl, Rewe and SPAR have appealed to the EU Commission to make the procedures of new genetic engineering subject to EU genetic engineering law. If products produced with these processes were to come onto the market unregulated and not perceptible to manufacturers, traders and consumers", the groups argued, this would endanger GMO-free food production and organic farming.
"Meeting the wishes of consumers"
The traders pointed out that food with the "GMO-free" label had established itself as an important quality standard on the European market. With considerable logistical and financial effort it was possible "to meet the very clearly articulated desire of consumers for food produced without genetic engineering". The letter states that the Commission must therefore "work towards a clear, unambiguous legal regulation of New Genetic Engineering processes that makes the products traceable and identifiable". This is the only way to ensure freedom of choice for consumers. The groups also reminded the Commission of the precautionary principle enshrined in EU law. It requires that the procedures of New Genetic Engineering be subject to a sound risk assessment before they are getting authorized for cultivation or use.
European Court of Justice announces a decision for 25 July
The appeal was initiated by the German association “Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik” (VLOG, Engl. “Association Food without Genetic Engineering”) and the Austrian “ARGE Gentechnik-frei” (Engl. “Syndicate Genetic Engineering free”). Both certify food without genetic engineering in their countries and include traders and manufacturers among their members. In addition to the traders, ARGE also approached manufacturers, so that the signatories also include several Austrian dairies as well as poultry processors.
The background to the proposal is that the European Court of Justice has announced a decision on the classification of New Genetic Engineering for 25 July. Subsequently, the EU is facing an intensive debate on the legal regulation of new genetic engineering, which has been repeatedly postponed until now.