The GMO lobby, led by Bayer/Monsanto, Syngenta and others have begun to develop a counter-attack to try to neutralize the unexpected and, for them, devastating EU European Court of Justice ruling in July requiring that plants modified through so-called gene-editing DNA techniques must submit to the same licensing risk-assessment procedures as all other GMO plants. The ruling caught the GMO industry off-guard. Now they prepare a counter-attack as we might expect from the developers of Agent Orange, neonicotinoids or similar toxins.
On July 25, in a rare ruling in opposition to the recommendation of the European Union Advocate General, judges of the European Court of Justice held that products from new gene editing (GE) techniques are to be considered genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and as such are covered by existing EU GMO regulation. Contrary to the United States where the US Government, since the time of President G.H.W. Bush, has refused to regulate GMO plants arguing the phony claim they are “substantially equivalent” to conventional corn, soybeans or other plants, the EU has strict requirements before licensing and to date only one GMO crop, a patented corn variety is grown legally, that only in Spain.
The EU court ruling dealt a stunning blow to the GMO “biotech” industry which had been arguing their gene editing technologies were not GMO and needed no special regulatory oversight. They planned to sneak new and highly dangerous forms of genetic modification of plants in through the back door. DowDuPont had filed around 50 international patent applications for gene editing and plants, followed by Bayer-Monsanto with around 30 applications. Now under the ruling all gene edited products in the EU must first be fully tested and its products labelled.
The European Court ruling drew a sharp attack from US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Purdue issued an official statement declaring, “Government policies should encourage scientific innovation without creating unnecessary barriers or unjustifiably stigmatizing new technologies. Unfortunately, this week’s ECJ ruling is a setback in this regard in that it narrowly considers newer genome editing methods to be within the scope of the European Union’s regressive and outdated regulations governing genetically modified organisms.”
In the UK a group of 33 industry and research centers as well as pro-GMO farmers have delivered a letter to the British Government Department for Environment Food &