- Friends of the Earth, Ecologists in Action and Greenpeace ask, in a letter sent to Teresa Ribera, that new transgenics (OGMs) comply with the same guarantees as those modified with traditional transgenic techniques.
- If the European Commission’s current proposal goes ahead, new GMOs will not be identified nor will they have to undergo an environmental impact assessment.
- Environmental organizations also ask that environmental departments have a say in decisions about these agencies.
Friends of the Earth, Ecologistas en Acción and Greenpeace are against the European Commission excluding so-called new genomic techniques (GTN) from the European definition of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This would mean leaving them out of environmental impact assessment, monitoring and traceability requirements, which could exacerbate the crisis of loss of biodiversity and food sovereignty.
Until now, the legislative framework for GMOs (Directive 2001/18) defines what is and what is not a GMO. It also requires carrying out environmental impact studies, duly identifying the presence of these organisms and monitoring their effects. However, the European Commission could exclude from this definition GMOs resulting from new genetic engineering technologies, despite the fact that these modern technologies target organisms that are not completely risk-free.
The dangers of new transgenics
One of the main dangers of these organisms is their contribution to the loss of biodiversity. For this reason, Friends of the Earth, Ecologists in Action and Greenpeace sent a letter to Teresa Ribera, Minister of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, asking her to actively participate in this debate and to propose this topic for the next European Environment Council.
Some GTN techniques, such as CRISPR, rely on complex DNA repair mechanisms, producing mutations that can inadvertently alter vital characteristics of plants, potentially affecting the food chains in which they live.
Furthermore, some studies indicate that the effects of DNA changes cannot be predicted. properly and that the European Food Safety Agency has not yet carried out the relevant risk assessments of the unintended effects of the new GMO.
Andrés Muñoz, Head of Food Sovereignty for Friends of the Earth, warns: “All GMOs, including those produced with new genetic technologies, are subject to patent rights, which represents a serious threat to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic and free resources access to seeds”.
Diego Bárcena, spokesperson for Ecologistas en Acción, says: “The Commission’s proposal is in direct conflict with the EU’s objective of increasing organic agriculture by 25% by 2030, as one of its requirements is that there is no presence of OMG. Organic and agroecological farming systems may be threatened, as would be the case with the deregulation of new GMOs”.
Letter on the impact of new GMOs on biodiversity
Luis Ferreirim, Head of Agriculture at Greenpeace, concludes: “The deregulation of new GMOs is being justified with arguments about their contribution to sustainability, the fight against climate change and the European Green Pact. However, to achieve sustainability of the food system, what we need is its profound transformation and not patches like new or old GMOs.”.