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Parliamentary question - E-001880/2021Parliamentary question

New plant-breeding techniques

Question for written answer  E-001880/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Annika Bruna (ID), Hélène Laporte (ID), Julie Lechanteux (ID), Herve Juvin (ID)

Cultivating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for commercial purposes has been banned in France since 2008. However, new plant-breeding techniques (NBTs) are making it possible to change plant DNA without inserting foreign genes, by using techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9.

Although the modifications produced using these new techniques are no different from those that occur naturally, the time savings by comparison with conventional plant breeding methods can be measured in years.

However, the Joint Advisory Ethics Committee of the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) consider that these NBTs pose the same risks as GMOs, particularly as regards agro-biodiversity[1]. They can also lead to undesirable gene mutations, which may later cause unforeseen and not immediately detectable health problems.

The Court of Justice of the European Union therefore considers that these NBTs are subject to Directive 2001/18/EC and must be treated as GMOs[2]. Since this judgment was handed down, however, the French Government has been slow to issue a decree defining the legal status of these NBTs at national level.

Does the Commission have any information on the progress France has made in drawing up its NBT rules?


Last updated: 26 April 2021
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