Author: Desislava Georgieva
Published On: 02/02/2024

With 47 votes “for”, 31 “against” and 4 “abstentions”, the deputies of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament approved the free regime for the cultivation and marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) obtained through the so-called new genomic techniques (NGT). The only permanent member of the commission from Bulgaria – Petar Vitanov (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) voted “against”.

The Environmental Commission made the proposal of the General Directorate “Health and Food Safety” even worse, commented Eng. Dr. Svetla Nikolova from the “Agrolink” association. In its original version, the proposal removed all safety checks for about 94% of new GM plants still undergoing laboratory development for patents, according to Germany’s BfN. But the amendment introduced a new and unapproved approach that would make safety checks a rare exception.

“Conservative and most liberal EU MPs do not respect the right of consumers and farmers to know what they eat and what is grown in their fields. Today’s vote is a serious signal about the undue influence of big agribusiness like Bayer, which spends 6 million euros on lobbying a year, trying to expand its control over the food sector,” commented Svetla Nikolova.

The right, the far right and the liberals – MEPs from the Conservative group, the People’s Party and many from Renewal Europe voted in favor of the new GMOs.

Today’s result is a slap in the face for farmers and consumers, but it is not final. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the draft regulation during a plenary session from 5 to 8 February.

The member states’ council of ministers will have to find a common solution after failing to reach an agreement in December.

Poland’s Minister of Agriculture Sekierski stated: “we do not want to allow the patenting of plants by the NGT. We fear that patenting will further limit seed availability and access, especially for smaller farmers.”

We insist that the Bulgarian government should also prioritize the rights and economic interests of Bulgarian farmers in order to know what seeds they are using, as well as the development of Bulgarian traditional varieties of agricultural crops and traditional food, which has proven its quality to the whole world. in the position of “Agrolink”.

NGTs are techniques that alter the genetic material of an organism. Currently, all plants obtained through NGT are subject to the same rules as GMOs, which are among the strictest in the world. The promoted goal of NGT is to develop improved plant varieties that are resistant to climate change, pests, give higher yields or require less fertilizers and pesticides.

Several NGT products are already on the market outside the EU or are in the process of being offered (e.g. non-browning bananas in the Philippines).

A number of environmental and agricultural organizations in our country and at the European level have expressed great concern about the introduction of the new GMO techniques in the European Union. The main concern is that the changes in the regulation will overturn the regulations on new genetically modified organisms. The obligation to state on product labels that they are obtained through NGT is also no longer required.

Over 170,000 people have signed a pan-European e-petition calling for the regulation and labeling of new GMOs to be retained. In our country, over 4,000 people have signed an electronic petition “No” to the new GMOs.