Hungary’s strategy remains unchanged and the country will continue to adhere to the GMO-free status of Hungarian agriculture, the Ministry of Agriculture informed after the start of negotiations in Brussels on the regulation of new genetic modification techniques.
The European Commission’s proposal for regulating genetically modified (GM) crops, published 5 July, divides new GM crops into two categories and subjects their use and marketing to two different procedures, they wrote.
The first category of plants would be completely exempted from the current GMO regulation. No risk assessment would precede the release of these plants into the environment, and they could be marketed without labeling or monitoring.
A number of simplifications would be introduced for the approval of plants in the second category, e.g. much less data and impact assessments would have to be submitted for the approval of cultivation of these plants than for the existing GMOs. In addition, no follow-up would be required for certain plants, eliminating the need to know in the future whether the product has adverse effects.
The proposal does not allow Member States to decide for themselves whether or not to grow plants produced with these new genetic engineering techniques on their territory.
This is a sensitive issue for Hungary, because in 2015, it was precisely through Hungary’s effective intervention that we managed to get the EU’s GMO Directive amended to allow member states to decide for themselves whether or not they want to cultivate GMOs on their territory.
the Ministry informed MTI.
New genetic engineering techniques developed in recent years, such as gene editing, can be used to produce almost any GMO. In other words, laboratory tools can be used to target the plant genome. These techniques are used in research and development in many fields, from health to industry to agriculture.
Hungary supports research because it can contribute to the country’s development and competitiveness.
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However, while environmental and health risks can be eliminated with proper safety measures in contained uses, such as laboratory research and drug development, cultivation can pose environmental and health risks that must be evaluated before such products are placed on the market. If an unforeseen negative impact occurs, it is too late to act, as these organisms cannot be removed from the wild. It is therefore essential to regulate activities related to these organisms.
Hungary is guided first and foremost by the precautionary principle, including in relation to these new genetic manipulation methods, and we do not support any initiative that would allow these products to be placed on the market in the European Union without a proper assessment of the health and environmental risks,”
stated the press release.
Our priority is to strengthen and maintain food and nutrition security and protect the interests of traditional farmers, especially organic farmers. For this reason, the regulation must include guarantees that ensure proper labeling and traceability of NGT products and allow their exclusion from organic farming. Only by maintaining mandatory labeling can consumer choice be guaranteed. Therefore, products produced using new genetic engineering techniques must not be allowed to be placed on the market without prior testing and approval, the release concludes.
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