A brochure to explain the technical and political issue with new GMOs
In the European Union, genetically modified organisms are subjected to a specific regulation. Before being authorized for planting or used in food or feed, they have to undergo a health and environment impact assessment by the European Food and Safety Agency (EFSA) , then to be authorised individually by a specific committee and finally, to be labelled clearly as a GMO. For all the faults with this regulation, it nonetheless allows farmers and consumers to make informed choices. The agro-industry is far from happy with this state of play, and has been manoeuvring to find ways to shift the balance back into its favour. The past few years have seen the development of new biotechnologies that allow the manipulation of the genome of plants, animals, bacteria and human beings. They are usually called “new breeding techniques" (NBTs), a term coined by public relations agencies to blur the distinction between conventional breeding and these new biotechnologies in order to avoid falling within the scope of the EU regulation on GMOs. But don't be fooled - these new biotech methods work in the same way as older GM techniques. In this brochure, we explain what they are, what kind of risks they are posing and why their products should be officially recognized as GMOs. .