European Court of Justice Issues Blow to Ag Innovation

  • On July 31, 2018
  • ASTA, EU, Gene Editing, Innovation, Plant Breeding Innovation, Seed

In a disappointing setback to innovation, the European Union Court (ECJ) on July 25 ruled that gene-edited crops by definition should be subject to the same stringent regulations as conventional genetically modified (GM) organisms.

The court’s decision is in contrast to the direction many governments are going with respect to plant breeding innovation policy and is based solely on the method of plant breeding, without taking into account whether the end-product could have been achieved through more traditional means.

It’s important to note that the ruling is a legal interpretation of existing EU law, and is not a policy decision. However, it is being watched very closely around the world and will likely have an impact on the international debate. ASTA continues to work with its international partners to encourage governments to adopt pro-innovation policies so farmers have access to the latest evolving plant breeding methods which hold tremendous promise for a more sustainable and secure global food production system.

Read ASTA’s press statement here and USDA Secretary Perdue’s statement here.

For more perspective, see the recent article from the New York Times.