EU paves way for new genomic techniques

Published: 05/07/2023

The European Commission today published a draft regulation to help pave the way for new genomic techniques (NGTs). This will enable the development of plant varieties with specific, beneficial characteristics. FoodDrinkEurope Director General Dirk Jacobs has issued the following statement in response: 

Innovation in plant breeding is a key driver in delivering more sustainable and resilient crops, more secure harvests and safe ingredients and food products. A positive EU regulatory framework for plants derived by certain NGTs is therefore a welcome development.

Europe’s food and drink manufacturers purchase 70% of EU agricultural production and rely on access to a secure supply of quality, safe and sustainable ingredients. For their part, farmers need access to all tools to address ongoing and future challenges, notably climate change and plant diseases.

As part of its Action Plan on Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems, FoodDrinkEurope recently commissioned a study to look at speeding the European transition to more sustainable agriculture with appropriate public and private finance. Access to innovations, such as NGTs, is another important part of the picture alongside integrated pest management to help reduce farm inputs, and improve climate mitigation and adaptation.

Alongside today’s proposal, it will be important for the Commission and others to help build consumer acceptance of, and confidence in, new plant breeding techniques through information sharing and assurances of safety.