Historically, Europe has been known for its stringent stance on the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), with regulatory measures against GMOs implemented since 2001. The cornerstone legislation includes Directive 2001/18/EC, addressing the intentional introduction of GMOs into the environment, and Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, pertaining to genetically modified food and feed. These laws establish a system for GMO approval based on risk assessments for environmental and human health impacts, mandates traceability and labeling, and sets up a framework for monitoring GMOs in the market.
However, in 2021, the commission suggested a revision of these regulations, considering them outdated in the face of new gene-editing technologies gaining traction globally. The proposed changes involve a bifurcation of GMOs into two categories: (1) those originating from ‘naturally occurring techniques,’ akin to traditional plant breeding methods, which will be exempt from the current process, and (2) New Gene Editing Techniques similar to GMOs, which would still need to comply with existing protocols.