The Czech presidency of the European Union believes that relaxed rules should be introduced as soon as possible for the admission of new GMO techniques in agriculture and horticulture. Other EU countries have also been pushing for this for some time.
According to Minister Zdenek Nekula, the current legislation not only affects farmers but also leads to the departure of brilliant scientists from the EU.Climate change, food insecurity and seasonal shortages make it necessary to relax the current regulations for genetically modified food and seed technologies in the EU Minister Zdenek Nekula said in Prague on Friday.
Nekula said new so-called genomic techniques could help make crops more resilient to drought, frost, diseases and pests. “We need modern rules,” he said, calling current GMO rules a “restriction.”
Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, for his part, stressed that his new proposal on genetically modified food will be announced in the second quarter of 2023. And that will only be after a thorough analysis of the dangers to human health, the environment and also taking into account the interests of the agricultural sector, he added.
“We have to be careful. We must not risk public health and the environment," he said. “We have to find the balance,” Wojciechowski said, adding that organic farming needs to be protected from the potential consequences of admitting new mutations.
Current legislation requires a marketing authorization requirement for all genetically processed food, after an assessment of the risks to human health and the environment. According to a recent study by the European Commission, the current regulation is not suitable for the assessment of new gnome techniques.
Environmental groups fear that a revision of the rules could mean lowering the risk assessment, or even waiving requirements to mention that operation on labels.