The ruling to classify gene-edited crops as genetically modified crops – and to follow the same legislation as these crops – in July 2018 has been met by much disappointment from farmers and researchers in the plant-breeding world.

As the availability of chemicals gets smaller the ruling was seen to take away another tool in combating plant pests and disease.

A petition has now been launched in relation to new plant-breeding techniques by a group called Grow Scientific Progress (GSP).

The group is looking for 1 million signatures to “demand a better legal framework” to reach its objectives. It states: “We want the EU to focus on sustainability, safety and responsible innovation when it comes to new plant-breeding techniques.”

Why form the petition?

The group states on its website: “We believe that the current regulatory system results in an implicit ban of new plant-breeding techniques.

“These new techniques are valuable tools for breeding more resilient crops, with less resources and in less time: a much-needed advancement in times of climate change and prospected food insecurity.”

What has been done so far?

GSP has submitted a proposal to the European Commission in the form of a European Citizens’ Initiative.

The proposal outlines changes to the current law that takes into account important advancements in plant-breeding techniques.

The group has stated that the most important proposal is “to focus on the crop rather than the technique. In this way safety is ensured, while the valuable benefits of new techniques are not lost to illogical regulatory hurdles”.

Signing the petition

The collection of signatures began on July 25 – a year on from the day the European Court of Justice made the ruling.

The group hopes to collect 1 million signatures from EU citizens who support the initiative. If this support is reached the group will “demand an update of the legislation to foster responsible innovation, sustainability and safety for us and the next generations”.

Anyone who wants to sign the petition should visit the CropsMatter website or click here