Open letter against GMO deregulation


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Open letter addressed to the members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council against the Commission's proposal to allow HIDDEN GMO's into the European food-chain by abolishing labelling requirements and weakening the current authorization procedure for novel GMOs

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Brussels, 25th of July 2023

Concerning: Open letter to the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council on the Commission’s plan to allow hidden GMOs into the European food-chain by abandoning the current labelling requirement for Genetically Modified ingredients on the European market and by relaxing Europe’s authorization procedures for “First Category” GMOs.

Dear Sir/Madam,
Dear representatives of the European Parliament,

It came as a great shock to me when I first heard the news that the European Commission, through its president Mrs Von der Leyen and its Commissioner Timmermans, is planning loosen the requirements for GMOs in our food-chain and to abandon the current labelling requirement for Genetically Modified Organisms on the European market and thus allow hidden GMOs into the European food-chain.

As you know, there are currently several European directives that govern the sale of GMO’s on the European market. The clearest and most unequivocal of these might well be Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 on the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the traceability of food and feed products produced from GMOs which states clearly and boldly:

“ Labelling

Final consumers packaging or pre-packaged products containing GMOs should be
labelled: ‘This product contains genetically modified organisms [or the names of
the organisms]’.”

As you can see, this sentence is not open to creative interpretation: If a food product contains genetically modified material, it is required by European law to be indicated on the packaging of the foodstuff! It is a great example of a great and useful European law, because it is based on the principle that every European citizen has a right to know about the origins of the ingredients of his/her food, so that he/she can make an informed decision.

Unfortunately, the Commission now seems to want to strip the principle of informed consent from the European public.
To be precise, Mrs Von der Leyen has said that she wants to abolish the current legal requirement for clear labelling of genetically modified ingredients if these are produced with “novel techniques” (which means: CRISPR), because she
seems to believe that the ability to selectively target one gene at a time in an organism is somehow risk-free. This belief seems to be founded on no scientific information what-so-ever.

Worse is the Commission’s motivation for this plan to downgrade Europe’s labelling laws and to “simplify” Europe’s authorization procedures for GMOs (and thereby downgrade Europe’s consumer protection, public health protection and protection of Europe’s food supply at a stroke) has been explained from the motive of “easier competition”. It is bizarre to read, but the Commission seems to argue that because the USA and Japan already allow unlabelled GMO products into their national food-chains, the EU should immediately do the same – to protect Europe’s “competitive edge in the GMO market”.

To make a strange situation even stranger, Mr Timmermans has claimed that Genetically Engineered food should play a key role in Europe’s climate strategy, as he seems to believe that GMOs should (for some unexplained reason) be a
keystone of the EU’s Green Deal, but seems to be unaware that allowing genetically engineered food crops of the “1 st category” (in the Commissions words: “that are comparable to naturally occurring or conventional plans” – even
though by their vary nature as GMOs no 1 st category plant is “comparable to naturally occurring or conventional plants”) into Europe’s natural environment could lead to dire and unforeseen consequences, as there is no way of predicting what a genetically engineered crop will do once it enters the natural environment. The fact that the draft proposal removed genetically engineered “herbicide tolerance” (which is a gene-edited trait that leads to greater use of pesticides) from the “high caution” “2 nd category” shows clearly that neither food safety nor Europe’s natural environment is the ultimate aim here …


All of the argumentations offered by the Commission are clearly nonsense, as the right to informed consent should be protected at all costs in the EU. Every European citizen should at all times be able to know exactly where his/her food
came from and if it contains any genetically engineered ingredients. This is doubly important as many Europeans (maybe even a clear majority of Europeans) are intensely weary of genetically engineered “Frankenstein” foods, which is a trait shared by many Europeans across political lines. Indeed, the objection (and indeed revulsion) to GMOs is something that is shared by a broad front of Europeans and represented on both the left and the right side of the European political spectrum. Because most people seem to believe that people should have – and should retain – the right to know and to choose. This is not too much to ask.

Don’t you want to know what you are eating?

Through this open letter, I would like to ask you to not accept any relaxation of the labelling rules for GMOs and genetically engineered material in Europe. No matter the technique or technology that is used to alter an organism, a GMO should always be clearly labelled as such.

Moreover, the authorization procedure for GMOs should NOT be relaxed for any type of GMO. There is a real an inherent danger in allowing genetically engineered plants and animals into the natural world. Is it really too much to ask that a risk assessment is done before hand? Is a bit of caution really too much to protect Europe’s natural environment and food-chain? So, when the Commission presents it proposal to downgrade and thus make
irrelevant Europe’s GMO labelling & authorization laws (and thus downgrade the legal protection of its consumers and its food supply) for a vote, I would like to ask you friendly yet urgently to always VOTE AGAINST ANY DOWNGRADE OF

Please remember that Europe does not in fact need genetically engineered crops to feed itself. Europe’s farmers have already proven themselves to be more than capable of producing more than enough agricultural produce to feed our
continent, and beyond. The fact that Europe is and always has been a net exporter of food proves that Europe simply does not need genetically engineered plants to sustain itself. So why take the risk to genetically pollute our natural
environment? Please take heed of the many disastrous examples where humanity thought they could bend the forces of nature to our will. Remember the rabbits in Australia. Remember the Colorado beetles and “Spanish” road slugs in
Europe. Why do it all over again, but now with GMOs? How Green is that?

The European Union has always been highly interested in protecting its citizens against unscrupulous commercial practices that allow unfit foodstuffs to enter the European food-chain. It is both illogical and uncharacteristic for the EU to suddenly decide to abandon our cautious approach to something that is as vitally important for human health and human survival as the ingredients of the food that we eat.

This is why I ask you take always VOTE NO against any relaxation of our food laws, as it is a danger to the health, dignity and right to informed consent of every European. I look forward to you response.
With kind and European regards,

Erik Schrama

European Action |

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