b'PETRA JORASCH, EUROSEEDSTHE EU GMO DIRECTIVE ISNO LONGER FIT FOR PURPOSEWILL THE NEW EU COMMISSIONS FARM TO FORK STRATEGY ON SUSTAINABLE FOOD EMBRACE PLANT BREEDING INNOVATION?BY: PETRA JORASCH, EUROSEEDSA fter the ruling of the Europeanforce the EU commission to update theit is unlikely that a detection method for a Court of Justice in case C-528/16EU GMO legislation. Euroseeds welcomesgenome-edited plant product with single on mutagenesis breeding that putthe citizens initiative to ask the Europeannucleotide variations or short insertion/all products resulting from any kind ofUnion to change its GMO legislation indeletions would fulfil the performance mutagenesis breeding under the GMOview of targeted mutagenesis breeding.requirements for methods of GMO testing. definition of the European DirectiveEuroseeds shares the conviction that plantEven in case a DNA alteration is detected, 2001/18, the seed sector internally dis- breeding and crop improvement are cru- there are currently no procedures estab-cussed on its positioning regarding thecial for all European citizens and key tolished that facilitate an unambiguous way forward.improve the environmental sustainabilityconclusion that genome editing has cre-Euroseeds formally reconfirmed itsand economic competitiveness of the EUsated the alteration versus spontaneous principal decisions and positions taken inhigh-quality agri-food production system.mutation or conventional mutagenesis the setting-up of the #EmbracingNatureWhile Euroseeds also shares the objectivemethods. This means that if a suspicious campaign to lead the relevant outreachto change the EUs GMO Directive to freeproduct with an unknown or non-unique and advocacy efforts and coordinateadvanced mutagenesis breeding from theDNA alteration would be detected on the communication and advocacy on plantprovisions for transgenic crops, we rec- EU market, it would be difficult or even breeding innovation with other industryommend a simpler legal approach to effec- impossible to provide court-proof evi-associations accordingly. tively excluding products of old and newdence that the modified sequence orig-An update of Directive 2001/18 ismutagenesis breeding from its scope andinated from genome editing. Therefore, seen as the only legally possible approachadapting the respective annex accordingly.plant products obtained by genome edit-to overcome the challenges that theAlso, business associations from theing may enter the EU-market undetected.ECJ ruling put on plants resulting fromagri-food value chain expressed their con-mutagenesis breeding. This update shouldcerns with the ruling and called upon thePLANT BREEDING INNOVATION be as targeted as possible on the base ofEU to adapt its legislation to reflect andCAN CONTRIBUTE TO MEETING excluding those plants from the GMO reg- welcome technical progress and align itTHE NEW EU COMMISSIONS ulations that also can also result from nat- with legislation in other parts of the world.GOALSural or earlier mutation processes.Even the scientific advice mechanismWith the European Parliament elections (SAM) of the Commission published ain May 2019 and the end of the term of SCIENCE AND INDUSTRYquite strong reaction stating that in viewthe current EU Commission in late 2019, ADVOCATE FOR UPDATINGof the Courts ruling, it becomes evidentit was clear that no legislative initiative EUROPES GMO FRAMEWORKthat new scientific knowledge and recentwill be taken until the new Commission TO CURRENT SCIENCEtechnical developments have made theis established. This has also been The ruling created strong reactions fromGMO Directive no longer fit for purpose. stated repeatedly by the responsible EU scientists who called upon all relevantCommissioner Andriukaitis and his staff bodies in the EU and beyond to estab- GENOME EDITED PRODUCTSon several occasions.lish a dedicated international policyMIGHT ENTER THE EU MARKETEuroseeds follows a coordinated out-forum for further deliberations and col- UNDETECTED reach and advocacy strategy to build up laboration in shaping tomorrows GMOThe outgoing EU Commission startedsufficient political momentum to help ini-governance framework and advancingdiscussions on the consequences of thetiating a legislative proposal that provides the public dialogue. Leading scientistsruling with EU Member States who arethe desired internationally harmonized representing more than 127 Europeanresponsible to implement and enforce thescope of regulatory oversight. plant and life sciences research centresGMO Directive. A number of EU MemberThe new Commission President and institutes have endorsed a positionStates addressed concerns with imple- Ursula von der Leyen included in her paper that urgently calls upon Europeanmenting the ruling due to the potentialstrategy for Europe to strive for more by policy makers to safeguard innovation ingenetic indistinguishability of plantsbeing the first climate-neutral continent. plant science and agriculture. The scien- resulting from targeted mutagenesisIn this context she wants to implement a tists are deeply concerned about a recenttechniques. The EU Commission thereforeBiodiversity Strategy for 2030, a Farm to European Court of Justice ruling aroundrequested a report from the JRC and theFork Strategy on sustainable food as well modern genome editing techniques thatEuropean Network of GMO Laboratoriesas a new Circular Economy Action Plan. could lead to a de facto ban of innovative(ENGL) responsible for the developmentPlant breeding innovation can contribute crop breeding. of detection methods for genetically mod- to all these goals and Euroseeds will defi-Young PhD students from Wageningenified organisms. The main outcome of thenitely address the topic in this context in University even started a European Citizenreport summarizes that based on the cur- view of our communication activities as Initiative Grow Scientific Progress torent knowledge and technical capabilities,well as our advocacy efforts.18IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'