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World’s first detection method for gene-edited plants presented

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

A woman changes a gene strand with scissors
Symbol picture © Shutterstock / GeK

An international team consisting of NGOs, associations and a retail company has developed a method for detecting genetic modifications in the US rapeseed variety Falcon. The new method revolutionizes the control possibilities within the EU.

A team of non-governmental organizations, "GMO-free"-labeling associations from Europe, New Zealand and the USA, and Austria's leading retailer Spar have presented a publicly available detection method for the gen-edited herbicide-tolerant oilseed rape variety Falcon from the US company Cibus.

It is the first detection method for an already commercially used plant produced by new genetic engineering methods. The U.S. laboratory that had developed the method for the participating organizations presented it in parallel in a scientific journal.

More security for EU controls

The new procedure will enable EU member states to be the first to detect Cibus oilseed rape not approved in the EU during their inspections, thus preventing it from entering the food and feed chain illegally. At the same time, the detection procedure proves that products of the new genetic engineering can also be identified and distinguished from similar, non-genetically modified products.

The method is highly sensitive and specific, write the initiators. "It fully complies with EU requirements for the detection of GMOs. Its validity and reliability was tested and confirmed by the GMO analysis laboratory of the Austrian Federal Environment Agency".

Breakthrough for consumer and environmental protection

Alexander Hissting, Managing Director of the Association Food without Genetic Engineering, called the new detection method a "milestone for the protection of consumers, food production and agriculture in the EU. We have developed this test because the authorities have failed to do so".

Franziska Achterberg of Greenpeace Europe said: "Now there are no more excuses - existing safety and labelling requirements must also be applied to these new genetic engineering products".

The Green member of the German Bundestag Harald Ebner called the new method of measurement "a testimony of poverty for Minister Klöckner and the EU Commission, who two years after the European Court of Justice's decision failed to bring about this urgently needed verification procedure".



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