As the European Union is preparing to decide on whether and how to deregulate new GMOs, Slow Food look sat the most frequent claims made by the biotechnology and seed industry to promote new GMOs and their deregulation. Spoiler: they’re misleading, if not deceptive.
Myth #1: Changes brought by new GM techniques (or “genome editing”) to alter plants are the same as what could happen in nature or with conventional breeding.
The biotechnology industry and lobbies often refer to new genetic modification (GM) techniques, which include CRISPR/Cas, as “breeding innovation,” “precision breeding techniques,” and “new breeding techniques.” They carefully avoid using terms like “genetic modification” and “genetic engineering,” in a clear attempt to make these techniques sound natural and to persuade the general public to accept foods containing new GMOs.
Yet, EU law defines a GMO as an organism in which “the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.”