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May 30, 2020

The French Environmental Code will be amended to further clarify what plant breeding techniques, and more specifically applications of mutagenesis, are to be considered out of GMO-scope. Following the ECJ landmark case Confédération paysanne (Case C-528/16), only organisms obtained by mutagenesis which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record are excluded from the scope of the GMO Directive 2001/18/EC. The French Code will therefore add that techniques which induce a genetical modification ‘which have been traditionally used without any noted drawbacks with regard to public health or the environment’ and are specifically listed are excluded from the restrictions applicable to GMOs. This exemption specifically applies for ‘random mutagenesis, with the exception of in vitro random mutagenesis consisting in subjecting plant cells cultivated in vitro to chemical or physical mutagenic agents’.

TRIS notification (2020/280/F) - Decree amending the list of techniques for obtaining genetically modified organisms traditionally used without any noted drawbacks with regard to public health or the environment - link

Consequently, the amendment will restrict the use of crop varieties that in the past had wrongly been classified as exempted from GMO rules, as they have not been subjected to the stringent safety and authorization requirements as applicable to GMOs. To that purpose a list is adopted listing the varieties whose registration has been revoked due to their obtainment via an in vitro random mutagenesis technique.

TRIS notification (2020/281/F) - Order laying down the list of varieties mentioned in Article 2 of Decree [xx] - link

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