European Court of Justice confirms that all new GMOs must be regulated as such

Paris, July 25, 2018

This decision is a victory not only for the nine applicant organisations that initiated a long procedure more than four years ago, but above all for all European farmers, consumers and citizens. Our freedom to refuse to grow or consume GMOs and our right to live in a healthy environment are reinforced by this decision.

By relying on the European directive 2001/18 which regulates GMOs, the European Court confirmed that :

-all organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs,

-only organisms obtained by “mutagenesis techniques/methods that have traditionally been used for various applications and whose safety has long been proven” can be excluded from the application of the regulations on the pretext of the mutagenesis exemption. However, these organisms cannot be freely released into the environment and “States are free to legislate in this field in compliance with Union law, in particular the rules relating to the free movement of goods”;

-organisms “produced by mutagenesis techniques which emerged after its adoption” (i.e. after 2001) should be regulated, as “the risks to the environment or human health associated with the use of novel mutagenesis techniques/methods (…) could be similar to those resulting from the production and release of GMOs by transgenesis”.

The nine applicant organisations call on the European Union and the French Government to strictly apply this decision and in particular to:

-immediately suspend the cultivation of varieties made tolerant to herbicides by various techniques that have illegally invaded our fields and plates for some fifteen years;

-fund research programs to identify the techniques used;

-require breeders to make public all the techniques used in all catalogue entries.