(COMMON DREAMS) Deirdre Fulton, February 2, 2016 — Biotech lobbyists are staging a “below-the-radar attack” on European regulations, attempting to have new genetic modification (GM) techniques excluded from rules that impact the environment, food safety, and consumer choice, according to a new report from the Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).
In doing so, big agrichemical corporations like Bayer, BASF, Dow Agrosciences, and Monsanto, are essentially trying to circumvent Europe’s relatively strict regulation of GM organisms, which includes a mandated assessment of health and environmental risks, as well as labeling. Since 2015, EU national governments can also ban GM crops from being grown in their countries. Nineteen governments have banned GM crop farming on all or part of their territory.
However, since Europe’s GM law was introduced in 2001, new genetic engineering techniques have emerged. And now, the industry has set up a dedicated, EU-level lobbying vehicle—the ‘New Breeding Techniques (NBT) Platform’—with the mission of influencing a pending European Commission decision on these “GM 2.0” techniques. The decision is expected to be issued next month.