Potato trade association welcomes vote on NGTs

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08 February 2024
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New Genomic Techniques regulation approved by European Parliament, as call goes out for better public understanding.

EUROPEAN Potato Trade Association, Europatat, has a vote by the European Parliament in favour of a proposed regulation on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs). 

The decision is an important step towards deregulating techniques that can be used to develop plants with enhanced yields, improved disease resistance, better food quality and greater resilience to climate change, according to Europatat. 

The Parliament's support for the Commission's proposal, which establishes two distinct categories for NGT plants with tailored regulatory frameworks, is particularly welcomed. This approach promises smoother authorisation for Category 1 NGTs considered equivalent to conventional breeding and stricter oversight for Category 2 NGTs similar to current GMO rules. 

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Chair of the Europatat Technical and Regulatory Commission, Florimond Desprez, said “We should embrace innovation when it allows for a more efficient food production. These techniques will not solve all the challenges related to climate change and societal expectations our agriculture faces but they can certainly contribute to accelerating its transition to a more sustainable model.

"Nevertheless, we must be aware that those techniques will have a positive impact only if their use is not restricted by patents on traits. The development of NGTs should not weaken the breeders’ exemption.” 

Raising awareness among industry and the general public about the safety and distinct nature of NGTs compared to GMOs is paramount according to Vice-chair of the Europatat Technical and Regulatory Commission, Stijn De Pourcq. "Combating misinformation and clarifying the regulatory landscape will be crucial as we move towards a future with NGTs," he said.

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