15 Mar MEP Manuela Ripa calls for targeted EU research on the risks of new genetic engineering methods
"Progress without an accompanying risk research is like speeding on the motorway without a seat belt"
Brussels, 10.02.2022. In a joint letter, ÖDP MEP Manuela Ripa and some of her colleagues from the Greens/EFA Group have written to the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Ms Stella Kyriakides, and the EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Ms Mariya Gabriel, calling for targeted EU research into the potential risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which are produced with new genetic engineering methods such as CRISPR/Cas.
GMOs developed with so-called genome editing technology pose new and different risks compared to conventional breeding, which is why existing monitoring strategies are not sufficient to detect the presence of these new GMOs.
“To maintain a high level of protection for the environment and our health, the EU must face this challenge,” emphasizes MEP Ripa. “If it is possible to develop new and innovative GM products based on revolutionary genome editing technologies, it is also possible to develop state-of-the-art risk assessment and detection methods for them, but for this to happen, EU research needs to step up massively,” is the MEP’s verdict.
For this reason, MEP Ripa and her group colleagues call on the Commission to push forward new GMO risk research in the field of GM technology, in particular CRISPR/Cas, and to initiate more research into the detection of GMOs.
“The highest priority is to enshrine in law a complete listing of all ingredients that is comprehensible to consumers,” said the MEP. “GMOs have no place in our food. People must therefore at least have the choice through clear labelling whether food produced with or without genetic engineering ends up on their plate.”
Past questions from the Greens/EFA group confirm that the Commission has put its focus on further development of GM technology, but not on specific risk research that would allow national authorities to identify unauthorised GM products. The lack of adequate, targeted EU risk research in this area is “unacceptable”. “Technological progress without accompanying risk research is like speeding on the motorway without a seatbelt – this is why I continue to campaign for a strong regulation of new genetic engineering on behalf of the ÖDP in the European Parliament”, Ripa concludes.