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Researchers hit back at EU court view on new breeding techniques

Heads of UK food, plant and agricultural research organisations have expressed concern about the European Court of Justice’s judgement that crops bred using modern genetic techniques should be subject to the same regulation as those bred using older methods.

The court ruled on 25 July that plants and animals created using modern genetic techniques fall under the scope of EU rules on genetically modified organisms dating from 2001. This means they will face strict controls, for example on field-testing and sale, even though there is no scientific evidence that they are any less safe than the products of untargeted, traditional methods for trying to improve agricultural strains, such as cross-breeding.

The decision was immediately criticised by Sonny Perdue, secretary of agriculture in the United States.

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