It has been one year since July 25, 2018, when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that organisms obtained from New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs), such as CRISPR, must fall under the already existing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) directive and must thus be subject to thorough risk assessment procedures and labelling. Industry representatives and several Member States of the European Union are currently putting EU decision-makers under pressure to exclude NPBTs from the existing EU regulation. Slow Food Europe is certain this would undermine the precautionary principle and sign the end of consumer choice to eat GM-free food.
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, in an article recently published on Euractiv, argued that “the ‘new plant breeding techniques’ (NPBTs) needed new legislation.” This statement by Commissioner Andriukaitis, who is now running in the presidential election in Lithuania, and who finishes his term in the Commission in the coming months, comes as a surprise considering his previous claims that “the future of NPBTs at the EU level lies in the European Court of Justice’s interpretation of existing law.”
If controlling access to food means controlling the destiny of humanity, from today the most powerful player worldwide is not a government or a coalition of States, but a single multinational corporation, Bayer, after acquiring the infamous Monsanto. In fact, until yesterday, Bayer was a German pharmaceutical chemical giant. As of today, it is also the world’s largest group in the field of seeds, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.