The French Government is developing proposals that would allow the use of mutagenesis, a process by which the genetic information of an organism is changed by the laboratory production of a mutation.
In a move that could see an EU wide shift away from an absolute ban on laboratory modified crop techniques, France has declared so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBT) based on targeted editing of genes, a different technique to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) processes, which are banned in most of the EU.
France’s Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie has said she opposes a European Union court decision in 1998 to put NBT under strict GMO regulations. The push could see France, the EU’s largest and most influential agricultural producer, drive changes to modified processes throughout the EU.
“This (NBT) technology allows much quicker development of a variety that could have emerged naturally at some point, and that is a very good thing,” he said, calling for NBT not to be regulated like GMOs,” she said.
The European Commission last year requested a study on the issue that could be finalized in coming months. The move could trigger a change in requirements in what is the world’s largest agricultural trading bloc.