EUROPE- The European Parliament Plenary has adopted its regulatory position concerning plants obtained through certain new genomic techniques (NGTs) and their associated food and feed. 

While the decision signals progress in the realm of agricultural biotechnology, European grain, and feed industry trade groups, including COCERAL, FEDIOL, and the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC), have emphasized the need for continued scrutiny and improvement in specific areas of the draft legislation.

The trade groups have expressed their commitment to thoroughly examining the finalized text once it becomes public and to actively support the legislative process. 

Despite acknowledging the positive direction of the vote, they have highlighted lingering concerns that warrant attention if the European Union aims to harness NGTs as tools to address pressing challenges such as climate change and sustainability objectives outlined in the Green Deal.

A primary point of contention revolves around the proposed mandatory labeling for all NGT products. The trade groups argue that such a blanket requirement could blur the crucial distinction between Category 1 NGTs, which exhibit characteristics akin to conventionally bred varieties, and other NGTs categorized similarly to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

This indiscriminate labeling approach, they caution, could impede technology adoption and obscure vital information for citizens and consumers. Notably, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has affirmed on multiple occasions that Category 1 NGTs pose no additional risks compared to conventionally bred varieties.

Furthermore, the trade groups advocate for a regulatory framework characterized by clear-cut criteria and ease of implementation. Such a framework would facilitate the introduction of NGT-derived products into the marketplace and streamline the processing of food and feed materials. 

By enhancing competitiveness within both the industry and the farming sector, this approach aligns with broader economic and agricultural objectives within the EU.

COCERAL represents the trade in cereals, oilseeds, pulses and more. FEDIOL represents the vegetable oil and protein meal industry. FEFAC represents compound feed manufacturers across the EU member states and beyond. 

Together, they emphasize the need to refine regulatory measures for the full realization of NGTs’ potential, while also ensuring transparency and consumer confidence.

As the debate surrounding NGTs continues to evolve, stakeholders remain committed to fostering a regulatory environment that balances innovation, safety, and sustainability in European agriculture and food production.

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