New undeclared GMOs: the NPBTs case
They’re like GMOs but tend to escape the relevant European law maze. So there’s a real risk of finding them on your table without even noticing. The food products in question are made with NPBTs – New Plant Breeding Techniques, developing new seed traits in certain species, thanks to genetic engineering.
NPBTs are fiercely opposed by European biological organizations, which ask the European Commission to liken them to GMOs. At the start of 2016 the EU International Federation of Agricultural Biological Movements (EU IFOAM) sent the European Commission a political postion asking, among other things, for the new technology to be subjected to apposite risk evaluation for purposes of specific obligatory authorizing, tracing and labeling, as already applies to other GMO products.
The document published by the German biological farmer organization, VLOG, is in a similar vein: it highlights the need to guarantee consumer security and freedom of choice. In the absence of rules coherent with those set for GMOs, VLOG maintains, products undergoing these genetic modifications cannot be monitored, or subject to corrective action in case of emergency. The lack of regulation suggests massive “diversely GMO” vegetable spread, uncontrolled, making a mockery of the precautionary principle.
The new modified growing lobby, though, maintains European regulations cannot be applied to GMOs, as no foreign DNA would be present in the new seed traits. It is yet another Trojan horse aiming to spread new products on European shelves, where consumer aversion to GMOs is known. However, even in the GMO fatherland, the new laboratory crossings contrast: the US National Organic Standards Board actually decreed the products obtained by NPBT techniques cannot be considered biological.