Brussels – Agriculture ministers failed to reach a political agreement on a plan by the European Commission that would allow a new brand of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced with new genomic techniques (NGTs) to escape safety testing. The proposal would scrap most safety checks governing the release of GMOs, despite scientist warnings.

Protest against Life Patents in Germany. © Falk Heller / Greenpeace
© Falk Heller / Greenpeace

The Commission’s proposal creates two categories of new GM plants, one (Category 1) equated to conventional plants on the basis of criteria set in annex 1 of the proposal, will be fully deregulated, and the second (Category 2) will have watered down safety checks. According to the German Federal Nature Protection Agency, over 94% of current new GMO applications would fall under category 1.

The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) warned that the Commission’s criteria used to determine equivalence to conventional plants is not based on science and is not a guarantee that category 1 new GMOs are safe.

Commenting on the decision, Greenpeace GMO campaigner Eva Corral said: It is encouraging that governments didn’t reach an agreement on such an unacceptable proposal. European governments must now proceed with negotiations to ensure all new GMOs are safety checked, traceable and labelled. This will ensure a high level of protection for human health and the environment, and transparency for consumers and economic operators.”


Eva Corral, Greenpeace EU GMO campaigner: +32 479 60 12 89, [email protected]

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, [email protected]

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