Magazine article New Internationalist

Semantically Engineered Crops

Magazine article New Internationalist

Semantically Engineered Crops

Article excerpt

Remember how the biotech industry has told us for years that all crops are genetically modified (GM) and that GM is just an extension of what farmers have been doing for millennia? Well, now they've changed tack, claiming a range of new GM techniques aren't really GM at all. Referred to innocuously as 'new plant breeding techniques' or 'gene editing', there is a global push by the GM giants to deregulate these methods. By arguing that they are not really genetic engineering at all, companies are attempting to circumvent regulation, labelling and public opposition.

Austrian government agencies are among the few globally to have considered their potential risks. They concluded that there is insufficient knowledge, and that products derived from these methods should be regulated in the same way as those using older GM techniques - and require a comprehensive case-by-case risk assessment.

The response of international regulators so far has varied. …

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