Proposal for Amending the Exemption in the GMO Legislation: Additional criteria for exempting GM plants
The Netherlands has submitted a proposal for discussion within the EU on exempting genetically modified (GM) plants that meet certain conditions from the obligations under the GMO legislation on deliberate release into the environment (Directive 2001/18/EC). The intention of the proposal is to exempt those GM plants that have been produced using new breeding techniques and have a safety profile equivalent to traditionally bred plants.
COGEM was asked by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to advise on the criteria that GM plants should meet in order to be eligible for exemption. COGEM has previously reported that GM plants obtained by the use of certain techniques (such as site-directed mutagenesis and cisgenesis) are eligible for exemption because the risks they pose are comparable with those of traditionally bred plants. The Dutch proposal makes it possible to exempt these plants.
COGEM notes that the proposed criteria are ambiguous and could be interpreted in a way that includes the possibility of exempting GM plants that are not known in advance to be just as safe as traditionally bred plants. COGEM therefore proposes an amendment to the wording of the proposed criteria.