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 07 feb 2024 18:38 

New Genomic Techniques

Today’s vote on new genomic techniques (NGTs) in the European Parliament is an important step towards NGTs use by EU farmers. It has been rightfully recognised: targeted mutagenesis and cisgenesis can support farmers in their transition with environmental and societal benefits, as well as advantages for their socio-economic resilience. However, mandatory labelling of NGT products, or the instantaneous re-assessment of a technique classification may come with practical difficulties. European young farmers are now looking at the Council for the next steps.

Reacting to the vote, Rūdolfs Pulkstenis, CEJA Vice-President and organic farmer from Latvia said: “As farmers confront increasingly urgent challenges to adapt to climate change, sustain food production, and ensure the profitability of their activity, it is encouraging to witness EU’s progress to allow NGTs. Farmers are expressing frustration at inadequate working conditions and seek additional tools to tackle agricultural challenges. NGTs are no silver bullet but certainly a significant valuable resource”.

CEJA advocated for organic farmers to also benefit from NGT usage but takes note of the improved wording of the text to keep open the reflection on such a future possibility. In this regard, a report on “the evolution of the consumers' and producers' perception” 7 years after the regulation seems a long way off but goes in the right direction. Moreover, stating that the unintentional presence of category 1 NGT plants in organic production does not violate the organic regulation rightly addresses organic farmers' concerns on being held responsible, whereas NGTs Category 1 are precisely “conventional-like”.

The ban on NGTs patentability is another important improvement, that shows the added value of the European Parliament’s work in considering the socio-economic implications on top of safety and sustainability elements.

However, CEJA warns EU decision makers about the major risk brought by the introduction of an obligation to label NGT Category 1 products across the whole value chain. This requirement risks creating over-information for consumers, potentially leading to confusion and misuse to shape negative perceptions of NGTs. It also poses logistical challenges related to product separation and tracing. Finally, the possibility for competent authorities to withdraw their authorisation decision (e.g. Article 11 a [new]), cannot be to the detriment of farmers’ certainty on their possibility to use NGT material already placed on the market, or even already growing in their soils. The instantaneous effect of such a withdrawal might require further consideration.

CEJA’s position on New Genomic Techniques here.



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