PRESS BRIEFING: Preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice on the legal status of plant breeding and genetic engineering techniques C-528/16

BRUSSELS, 24 July 2018 – On 25 July, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will issue its decision on the legal case C-528/16, which relates to the legal status of certain plant breeding techniques involving genetic engineering. The ECJ’s decision may – or may not – provide some legal clarity on whether some techniques fall into the existing exemption in the GMO legislation foreseen for so-called ‘mutagenesis’ techniques.


The organic food and farming movement believes that, whatever the ECJ might say about the precise technique at stake in the French legal case, it is unlikely to provide full clarity on the legal status of newer techniques of genetic modification, usually known as ‘gene editing’ techniques, such as CRISP/Cas9. It believes that the European Commission should issue a legal interpretation to confirm that such gene editing techniques are not exempted from the legal framework on GMOs, and should therefore be subject to prior authorisation and risk assessment, like for GMOs already on the market.


This briefing aims to provide a few background elements to the ECJ’s decision and to the legal case in France. IFOAM EU will also issue a press statement in the hours following the publication of the ECJ’s decision on 25 July.

For more information please contact:

Magdalena Wawrzonkowska, Communications Manager
+32 (0)2 416 52 32, magdalena.wawrzonkowska [at] ifoam-eu.org


Eric Gall, Deputy Director / Policy Manager
+32 (0)491 07 25 37, eric.gall [at] ifoam-eu.org

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