A group of over 30 European retailers, including Aldi, Lidl and Spar, have sounded a powerful warning against any action by the European Commission that would exempt gene editing techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas, from current EU rules on GMOs.
Spelling out their case in a Retailers’ Resolution, they say that deregulation would mean that products made using the new genetic engineering processes would enter the market untested and unlabelled.
The retailers say: “As representatives of key European retailers we insist that the existing EU GMO legislation – with the precautionary principle and transparency requirements as its central pillars – continue to be applied to new GMOs. New GMOs must continue to be regulated in the same manner as old GMOs. Any other outcome from the political and scientific discussions currently underway would seriously undermine our own businesses, as well as the businesses of many farmers and seed, feed and food producers, especially in the highly-successful organic sector.”
The group warns of specific threats to organic from deregulation of new genetic engineering techniques. In particular, the expansion of organic envisioned under the EU Green Deal would, the retailers say, “be jeopardized to a massive extent”.
They add: “W have serious doubts that the ambitious and promising European Green Deal is compatible with the deregulation of new GMOs. Deregulating new GMOs and strengthening the EU food system to achieve greater sustainability are incompatible goals.”
Signatories to the Retailers Resolution include: ALDI Hungary, ALDI Italy, ALDI NORD Germany, ALDI SUED Germany, ALDI Suisse, Alnatura Germany, BioMarkt Verbund Germany, BNN Germany, Dennree GmbH Germany, Denn’s Biomarkt GmbH Germany, FARMFOODS Slovakia, Globus Germany, Handelsverband Österreich Austria, HOFER KG Austria, HOFER Slovenia, IGBM e.V. (Interessengemeinschaft BioMarkt e.V.) Germany, Lidl Dienstleistung GmbH & Co. KG Germany, Lidl Österreich GmbH Austria, Naturata Luxemburg, METRO Cash & Carry Österreich GmbH Austria, MPREIS Warenvertriebs GmbH Austria, PENNY Germany, Picard France, Rewe Group Austria (incl. Billa and Penny), REWE GROUP Germany, SPAR Österreichische Warenhandel GmbH Austria, Synadis bio France, Tegut Germany, TOP-TEAM Zentraleinkauf GmbH Austria, Transgourmet Österreich GmbH Austria, Unimarkt Gruppe (Unimarkt, Pfeiffer Großhandel, Nah & frisch) Austria.