92% of French people request labeling of new GMOs on packaging

The French are paying more and more attention to the contents of their plates, but also to the labels of products sold in supermarkets. In particular with regard to the presence of new GMOs, as suggested by a new study commissioned by Greenpeace France.

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It is a struggle that is not from yesterday. The presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food, which has been disputed since the 1990s, continues to worry the French, especially since the introduction of new GMOs or “New Breeding Techniques” (NBT) when we refer to their official name.

A public consultation led by the European Commission aimed at collecting the views of stakeholders and citizens on a “possible relaxation of legislation on new GMOs” runs until July 22. On this occasion, the NGO Greenpeace France commissioned a poll by Kantar Public to find out the opinion of the French people.

And the respondents are almost unanimous: 92% of them want the presence of new GMOs to be clearly indicated on the packaging of food products, while 77% think that new GMOs should be subject to the same European regulations as those of conventional GMOs . More than three quarters of those surveyed also say they are concerned about the impact of new GMOs on the planet and on human health.

Who are these new GMOs?

A GMO denotes a living organism (animal, plant) whose DNA has been altered to improve its quality, for example by making it more resistant to climatic hazards or pesticides. The process used in this method is called transgenesis and consists of introducing a foreign gene into the organism one wants to modify. Since 2008, the cultivation of GMOs for commercial purposes has been banned in France.

NBTs, approved by a report of the European Commission made public in 2021, are based on a similar method (mutagenesis) to that of GMOs, except that it consists in directly directing a gene already present in the living organism to modify.

The whole issue of the European consultation, in which any citizen can participate, is to determine whether NBTs should be subject to the same transparency requirements in terms of labeling and traceability of these products.

“The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in July 2018 that the products resulting from these new techniques do indeed fall under European GMO law: the risks associated with these techniques are indeed comparable to those of traditional GMOs”recalls Greenpeace France, which is launching an awareness campaign targeting major retailers.

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