New decision on GMOs and CRISPR: EU court tries, but fails, to clarify rules

Related imageSteven Salzberg European Union court just issued a new decision about GMOs. Disappointingly, this decision is likely to further confuse rather than clarify this complex and contentious issue. The court announced that plants whose genomes have been modified with CRISPR technology, a very precise form of genome editing, are subject to the EU’s very strict restrictions on genetically modified crops. More specifically, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) decided that: “Organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs and are, in principle, subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO Directive.” Salzberg points out that if we take this literally, then here’s a list of all the foods that have never been subjected to mutagenesis, and are therefore not GMO: Salt, wild boar, wild blueberries. So they carved out an exception: “…varieties [of plants] obtained by means of mutagenesis techniques which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record are exempt….” Which means, Salzberg says, that virtually all of the GMO crops in the U.S. are exempt. Read full Forbes report. Also read a report by Spudman magazine on this issue.