The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) made a ruling last Wednesday that gene-edited crops should be regulated in the same way as genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The ruling found that products derived through mutagenesis should be subject to the GMO regulations in Europe. Europe began regulating the planting and sale of these crops in 2001, but mutagenesis techniques were developed after the legislation was established.
“We have always stood behind science,” says Tom Slunecka, CEO at Minnesota Soybean. “The ability to use the gene editing technology will deliver many benefits to consumers, helping plants grow in our ever-changing environment. We believe this decision is very short sided, reducing consumer’s options and increasing the potential for trade barriers between America’s heartland and the EU.”
Gene editing is a group of technologies that gives scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA. According to the Genetics Home Reference, these technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome
“It is disappointing the ECJ was unable to see the value this technology brings to consumers,” Slunecka says. “It’s safe and cost effective technology and we will continue to advocate for the use of gene editing and our ability to export these varieties.”