BRUSSELS, July 25 (Reuters) - Crops obtained by plant breeding technique mutagenesis should fall under laws restricting the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Europe’s highest court said on Wednesday, in a victory for environmental campaigners.
The biotech industry had argued that much of mutagenesis, or gene editing, is effectively little different to the mutagenesis that occurs naturally or is induced by radiation - a standard plant breeding method since the 1950s, but the court disagreed.
“Organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs and are, in principle, subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO Directive,” the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) said in a statement.
The court added that an exception could be made for techniques that have been used conventionally and have a long safety record. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Foo Yun Chee)