Seed World

Major Legislative Decision in Europe: Environmental Committee Backs NGT Proposal

On Jan. 24, the European Parliament’s Environmental Committee voted in favour of a proposal to introduce a new regulatory framework for New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), which are currently governed by the very restrictive genetically modified organism (GMO) framework. The favorable decision represents a notable step forward in promoting the innovation in plant breeding needed to support a sustainable agriculture and food system in the European Union, said Euroseeds in a press release.

The proposed framework would distinguish plants derived from NGTs like targeted mutagenesis and cis-genesis from transgenic GMOs. Under the proposed regime, NGT plants would be regulated more akin to plants derived from traditional breeding methods. The proposal also outlines a system of verification to establish the individual regulatory status of new varieties. 

“This vote sends an important signal to Europe’s breeders, farmers and citizens,” said Euroseeds Secretary General Garlich von Essen in the press release. “Driving sustainability goes hand in hand with the need to support and enable innovation.” 

Von Essen stressed the importance of supporting innovation for sustainability, emphasizing its potential to enhance Europe’s leadership in plant breeding and ensure seed security: “this legislative initiative has the potential to boost Europe’s progress and leadership in plant breeding and ensure high-quality seed security, supporting our transition towards a resilient, truly sustainable food system.”

Backed by extensive support from agri-food associations, research institutions, NGOs, and Nobel laureates, the proposal is now poised for adoption through a plenary vote in February. This development has the potential to significantly impact Europe’s farmers and consumers, serving as a possible game-changer.

Read the entire Euroseeds statement here