Brussels, 5 July 2023
“EuropaBio is pleased to see this first step in the modernisation of the GM framework and calls for an extension into micro-organisms” said Dr Claire Skentelbery, EuropaBio Director General. “Countries worldwide have already adopted regulatory frameworks that support market access for innovative biotechnology products and processes and it marks a global industrial transition away from fossil fuels and into bioeconomy.”
Dr Anne-Gaëlle Collot, EuropaBio Industrial Biotechnology Director added “The proposal recognises that new genomic techniques are an important addition to Europe’s toolbox of sustainability and resilience solutions. What is further needed is recognition of the other applications, such as microorganisms, that can contribute towards EU ambitions under the EU Green Deal.”
The scope of the proposal is limited to plants, whilst other sectors that use industrial biotechnology could make use of new genomic techniques for significant advantage. Microorganisms, and products made by microbial fermentation, contribute substantially towards establishing sustainable food systems and transforming manufacturing processes across sectors. Hence the call from EuropaBio that discussions around new genomic techniques and the EU GM legislation need to be broader in scope.
Furthermore, the proposal remains prescriptive by focusing only on certain techniques. A science-based framework would consider the products developed rather than the processes used to develop them, particularly where the product could have been achieved naturally or by any combination of techniques. This consistent and evidence-driven approach would offer long-term regulatory certainty for industry as well as better global harmonisation.