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Italy. The 'drought decree' becomes a Trojan horse for new GMOs. Civil society protests

In Italy, the senators under the orders of LOBBY by Coldiretti e Big Ag they transform the 'drought decree' into a Trojan horse to hide an amendment that has nothing to do with the water crisis and instead introduce open field testing of the new GMOs.
The GMO-Free Italy Coalition is asking for the amendment to be withdrawn and announcing a legal battle in the European Union, to force the Italian Parliament to respect the common rules, starting with the precautionary principle.

The 'drought decree', the new Trojan horse to liberalize the new GMOs in Italy

The Agriculture and Environment Commissions of the Senate of the Italian Republic, on 30 May 2023, unanimously approved an amendment to the 'drought decree' aimed at liberalizing open field testing of new GMOs, without any regard for risks to human health, biodiversity and ecosystems.

The mocking acronym TEA – 'Techniques of Assisted Evolution' (from genetic engineering, whose protagonists aspire to deregulation on a global scale) – underlies the plant varieties known as NGT (New Genomic Techniques), which the EU Court of Justice in 2018 he equated to all intents and purposes to genetically modified organisms.

The empty promises of pursuing food sovereignty

Civil society – through the GMO Free Italy Coalition – underlines how this amendment moves in the opposite direction to food sovereignty which this very government claims it intends to promote, with unfortunately little knowledge of the facts as we have seen.

Biotechnologies in question in fact, under the pretext of 'adapting' agri-food systems to the climate emergency, they aggravate it by proposing a model of industrial agriculture based on the abuse of pesticides and herbicides to which only GMOs - old and new - are designed to resist , second Monsanto school.

Italian farmers who persist in following this 'model', after all – beyond the fairy tales about higher yields – have not recorded any positive variation on the prices of their products, except for facing the ever higher costs of input in agriculture (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and nitrogen fertilizers necessary to compensate for the sterility of the soils caused by agrochemicals).

A bolt from the blue in an Italy that has always been non-GMO

'The unanimous vote of the Italian Parliament highlights a self-defeating "single thought". of our political decision-makers on what the ecological transition of agri-food systems should be, forgetting the potential and opportunities offered by agroecology, which has the 'defect' of not guaranteeing the concentration of profits in the hands of a few subjects and of offering farmers economic solutions effective', explain the associations.

'With this vote Italy takes a step towards abandoning its twenty-year line strictly against GMOs, opening up to experimentation in the field which represents the premise for bringing genetically modified food to Italian tables'. In addition to dispersing the extraordinary biodiversity that has always characterized agriculture and agri-food production in Italy, at the basis of the Made in Italy acclaimed in the world.

Violations of European law

The amendment approved in the Senate constitutes a manifest violation of European law which governs scientific risk assessment with uniform rules as a premise for EU authorizations for the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs (old and new) and their use in the production of food and feed. The Member States therefore have no room for manoeuvre, apart from the faculty – already expressed by Italy, Austria and various other countries – to ban GMO crops on their territories.

The proposed deregulation of the new GMOs announced in Brussels it will not produce any legal effect, on the other hand, until the relevant text is possibly adopted by means of the codecision procedure - ie by agreement of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission - and enters into force following publication in the Official Journal. And it is unlikely that this will happen in the short term, between one legislature and another, with the lively opposition from European citizens.

The appeal of the GMO Free Italy Coalition

The perspective to have GMO food soon 'Made in Italy' it's out of the question, as it is contrary to EU law. But the expressions of vote of the representatives of an electorate less and less inclined to go to the polls increase the distrust of citizens towards politics. The GMO Free Italy Coalition therefore calls on Italian politicians to assume responsibility towards the territories and populations that have always expressed and express their opposition to the genetic mutation of the agri-food heritage.

The appeal it is addressed to all parliamentarians, but also to the presidents of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces. On this issue, which concerns agri-food systems, food safety and the environment, the aforementioned local bodies have jurisdiction concurrent with the state, thanks to the constitutional reform of 2001. And it is good that everyone put their feet back on the ground where their armchairs, with due respect for the land itself.

On behalf of the GMO Free Italy Coalition:

Acu, Agorà, Aiab, AltragricolturaBio, Ari, Asci, AssoBio, Association for Biodynamic Agriculture, Crossroads International Center, Farming Culture, Cultivare Sharing, Coordination Zero GMOs, Cub, Deafal, European Consumers, Egalité, Equivita, FairWatch, Federbio, Firab, Sowing the Future Foundation, Greenpeace, Isde, Legambiente, Lipu, Pro Natura, Ries – Italian Solidarity Economy Network, Ress, Terra!, TerraNuova Onlus, Transform! Italy, Navdanya International, Seed Vicious, Slow Food, Usb, Vas, WWF.

Dario Dongo and Marta Strinati

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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