EU-28: European Court Examines Whether Some NBTs Are Exempted from GMO Law

On January 18, 2018, Advocate General (AG) Michal Bobek of the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ) published his advisory legal opinion addressing whether and how organisms resulting from several conventional and newer breeding techniques should be regulated under the EU’s genetically modified organism (GMO) law. In his analysis, the AG found that some conventional and New Plant Breeding Techniques (NBTs) that use mutagenesis can be GMOs, but can be exempted from the obligations set forth in the EU’s GMO law. The AG also advised that the EU Member States have some discretion legislating the use and release of organisms developed with these techniques. Finally he relayed that the mutagenesis exemption in the EU’s GMO law is consistent with the EU’s precautionary principle. The AG’s findings are non-binding and designed to inform the deliberations of the ECJ’s Grand Chamber of Judges, who will issue their opinion on this case in summer 2018.

EU-28: European Court Examines Whether Some NBTs Are Exempted from GMO Law