Decision time for the European Court of Justice

This week, on July 25th the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will make a ruling on whether induced mutagenesis, used in the genetic engineering of plants, should be included within – or excluded from – the scope of current European legislation on genetically engineered plants.

The case, which began as an action brought about by several French NGOs to challenge French law on mutagenesis, was referred to the European Court of Justice in 2016 and has moved from being a ‘local’ issue to one of Europe-wide interest with both direct and indirect implications for the regulation of genetically modified crops and foods within the EU and for the UK post-Brexit.

Beyond GM has previously written about this case in our article High stakes for CRISPR and GMO regulation in Europe and ahead of the final decision of the ECJ we have prepared answers to some basic questions about the case, its background and its implications. Our navigable document provides information and answers to:

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  • Context
  • The challenges of GMO 2.0
  • What the case is not about
  • What the case is about
  • What is the mutagenesis exemption?
  • What is mutagenesis?
  • How does ‘old’ mutagenesis differ from ‘new’ mutagenesis?
  • Can mutagenesis occur naturally?
  • RNA – an exception to the exemption?
  • Is any of this relevant to the UK?
  • Where do we go from here?

This is an interesting case – though one that has been widely misrepresented in the media. We hope our plain language ‘backgrounder’ can serve to inform and to clear up some of the confusion.

The navigable pdf document can be accessed here.