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ECVC launches petition to oppose deregulation of new GMOs

3 May 2022

European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) has today joined the alliance of organisations calling to sign a petition against the deregulation of new GMOs.

  European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) has today joined the alliance of organisations calling to sign a petition against the deregulation of new GMOs. This petition is part of a European campaign led by a coalition of more than 45 farmer, environmental and citizen organisations from more than 15 EU countries, calling for all GMOs, new and old, to remain strictly regulated and labelled in the EU, in order to respect farmers’ and citizens’ rights to GMO-free food and agriculture.   Why is this petition happening? In the EU, strict legislation[1] on GMOs is in place, thanks to the mobilisation of peasants, environmentalists and citizens, who are overwhelmingly opposed to the use of these techniques in agriculture. Thanks to this legislative framework, all GMOs are currently subject to a risk assessment and labelled, which guarantees the safety and transparency of these products for consumers and farmers. However, under pressure from the seed and biotechnology industry lobbies, the European Commission is in the process of making proposals to deregulate certain new genetic modification techniques[2], which it calls new genomic techniques, and which we refer to here as new GMOs[3].   Without citizen mobilisation, the European Commission and the Member States could approve the deregulation of these new GMOs during the first half of 2023, and thus entry onto the European market without evaluation, transparency or traceability.   Such a scenario would be catastrophic for small-scale farming and the food sovereignty of Europeans.  Indeed, all GMOs, old or new, are covered by patents, reinforcing the control of seeds by the few multinationals that dominate this market, destroying the peasants’ autonomy and rights to seeds. Moreover, although presented by these multinational organisations and the European Commission as a miracle solution to climate change and food security, GMOs actually go hand in hand with a model of standardised intensive monocultures that require a lot of chemical inputs and are absolutely not resilient in the face of climate change. Finally, the health and environmental risks of these techniques are not known and need to be assessed for each new GMO. It is essential that the EU applies the precautionary principle to protect citizens.   GMOs, new and old, are absolutely incompatible with the peasant agroecology model that ECVC defends as a solution to the current environmental, climate and food security challenges. Peasants have never needed GMOs to feed the population. New GMOs are yet another false technological solution, designed to enrich the agro-industry without questioning a model that is harmful for the planet and for peasants.   [1] Directive 2001/18 [2] All information on the European Commission's policy initiative on new genomic techniques can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/food/plants/genetically-modified-organisms/new-techniques-biotechnology_fr [3]   These are organisms obtained by means of new mutagenesis techniques/methods that have emerged or have mainly emerged after 2001.

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