BioThai urges caution over EU’s eased restrictions on gene-editing crops

Picture courtesy of Waldemar, Unsplash

BioThai, a leading environmental organisation, called for the Thai government to tread carefully in the wake of the European Parliament’s decision to ease restrictions on gene-editing crops, also known as new genomic techniques (NGTs). The European Parliament’s decision was made on February 7 and was accompanied by stringent regulations.

After a vote of 307 in favour and 263 against, the European Parliament chose to relax the rules on NGTs. BioThai clarified that the decision was not an outright approval for gene editing but rather came with specific stipulations.

The new regulations stipulate that only plants classified as NGT1 will be exempt from the requirements of the GMO legislation. In contrast, all other NGT plants, referred to as NGT2, will be subject to strict rules, reported Bangkok Post.

Detailed labelling and traceability requirements are imposed on all NGT crop products. This ensures that, in case of any issues, the licence can be withdrawn and compensation can be claimed. Furthermore, gene-editing crops are banned from organic farming and cannot be patented.

Despite these stringent conditions, certain organisations have expressed their reservations. The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and France’s food safety agency have voiced concerns that the scientific justification for relaxing regulations on NGT1 crops is inadequate.

In reaction to the decision, they underscored the necessity of retaining control over all gene-edited crops, which must adhere to the GMO guidelines.

BioThai has stressed the importance of caution and rigorous research before making any decisions related to gene editing and GMOs.

In related news, the Food and Drug Administration seized almost 4,000 items of imported Chinese food from seven Bangkok stores.

FDA deputy secretary-general Weerachai Nolwachai said his agency had discovered that 3,783 food products sold at the stores had not been certified by the Thai FDA.

The goods taken away by Weerachai’s team included processed meat, packaged sauces, instant foods, and ready-to-eat products.

Environment NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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