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Environmentalists oppose changes to GMO laws

Green groups are demanding that the EU prioritise enforcement of laws on genetically modified organisms, despite top science advisers to the European Commission warning the rules are “no longer fit for purpose” and risk hampering agricultural R&D.

The Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors said in a statement on 12 November that the EU’s 2001 directive on GMOs is not appropriate for regulating genetic mutation techniques that have been developed in recent years and are potentially safer than older techniques. Meeting “difficult and onerous” conditions of the directive could “diminish incentives for investment, negatively affect research and innovation in this field, and limit the commercialisation” of crops derived by new techniques.

The advisers’ statement followed a ruling in July of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which disappointed many researchers by saying these modern techniques fall under the scope of the 2001 directive.

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