Cornucopia’s Take: Germany is determining whether to classify crops developed with the new gene-editing technology as genetically modified or to acquiesce to industry mouthpieces declaring that classification unnecessary given no genes have been added to the DNA. Cornucopia supports the precautionary principle and advocates for strict regulations that help consumers understand the food they are eating and the technology used to produce it.
Strict approvals needed for gene-edited crops: German minister
Yahoo News – Reuters
Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann, writing by Michael Hogan, editing by David Evans
Junior Environment Minister
BERLIN (Reuters) – The European Union should apply strict approval standards to new generations of gene-edited crops similar to those for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Germany’s junior environment minister said on Tuesday.
Gene-editing technology such as CRISPR/Cas9 allows scientists to edit genes by using biological “scissors” which can find and replace selected stretches of DNA.
Disease-resistant pigs and field crops are being developed but there have been calls for the new techniques to be subjected to the strict approval system for GMO plants.
The German government, traditionally skeptical of GMOs and other biotech food, is still formulating its policy toward the new generation of gene-edited agricultural products.
“It is important that GMO approval criteria should be applied here,” junior environment minister Jochen Flasbarth told Reuters.
This is because the changes in the plants can have a significant impact and the possibility to turn back changes may not be available without a strict approval process, he said.