New plant-breeding techniques
Question for written answer E-000185-19
to the Commission
Hilde Vautmans (ALDE) , Jan Huitema (ALDE)
The ruling of the European Court of Justice in Case C-528/16 means that organisms whose genome is edited by means of new breeding techniques are subject to European GMO legislation.
1. This ruling will cause problems for SMEs and start-ups wishing to apply these techniques, as they often do not have the means to complete the approval process. How will the Commission ensure that small and medium-sized plant-breeding companies can also use precision breeding techniques such as CRISPR?
2. A major challenge in applying GMO legislation to new breeding techniques is its enforcement. The minor changes made to the heritable material of organisms by genome editing can also occur spontaneously in nature. Therefore, if a minor change is found in a genome, it could be the consequence of spontaneous change, traditional breeding or genome editing. In other words, GMO legislation is not enforceable for this type of organism. How can GMO legislation be amended in such a way that only those organisms fall within the scope of the legislation for which that legislation can also be enforced?