Ultimate fate of new GM techniques will be settled in the Court of Public Opinion, says Beyond GM
On July 25 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will make a ruling on whether a specific induced mutation process, used in the genetic engineering of plants, should be included within – or excluded from – the scope of current European legislation on genetically engineered plants.
The case, which began as an action brought about by several French NGOs to challenge French law on mutagenesis, was referred to the European Court of Justice in 2016 and has moved from being a "local" issue to one of Europe-wide interest with both direct and indirect implications for the regulation of genetically modified crops and foods within the EU.
Beyond GM has prepared answers to some basic questions about the ECJ case, its background and its implications in a new briefing.
The briefing is short, clear, and readable. It sheds valuable light on an issue that has all too often become mired in technical complexity and pro-industry spin. Read it here.
The briefing concludes:
"To truly make sense of the GMO issue requires a constant eye on the bigger picture of food and farming, not just as a key economic driver but as a foundation of a healthy and thriving society. It also requires that the issue of genetic engineering be put into context – as a symptom of a system that is largely broken but which refuses to reinvent itself.
"To produce rational regulation requires a reframing of the debate beyond piecemeal legal and scientific arguments, because whilst the process of genetic engineering is a scientific process, and that process should (but doesn’t always) inform our regulations, the issue itself, how it intersects with food, culture, environment and sustainability is not just science issue.
"Widening the discussion to include environmental, economic, philosophical and human scale factors, we might ask, for instance, how do genetically engineered crops and foods stack up against the multiple criteria for sustainability such as food quality and culture, social values, environment, health, economy and governance?
"Such questions naturally broaden the scope of enquiry to include the Court of Public Opinion, and it is here and not the European Court of Justice or any other courts in the EU, where the ultimate fate of the new genetic engineering techniques is still most likely to be decided."