New Breeding Techniques Platform

The New Breeding Techniques Platform (‘NBT Platform’) is a coalition of SMEs, large industry and prominent academic and research institutes which strives to bring clarity to the European debate on New Breeding Techniques (‘NBTs’[1]).

1. The primary objective of the NBT Platform is to achieve regulatory clarity on whether or not NBTs are to be defined as leading to a genetically modified organism (‘GMO’) within the meaning of Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of Genetically Modified Organisms: if so, the products developed through these techniques shall be subject to the requirements of the GMO legislation. It is indeed unclear if, and how, NBTs should be regulated at EU level: until legal clarity is reached, the commercial application of these innovative solutions is hampered in the EU Member States.

2. With these actions, the NBT Platform also aims to provide policy makers and stakeholders with clear and precise information on NBTs and to generate awareness about their potential benefits for the plant breeding sector, consumers and society as a whole. The NBT Platform communicates in an open and transparent way towards all interested stakeholders, including national and international government representatives, industry, academia, and other interested stakeholders from the agro food chain such as associations, NGOs and media.

A list of organisations that are a member of the NBT Platform can be found here[2].

Based on the criteria set out in Directive 2001/18/EC, the NBT Platform came to the conclusion that most products derived through the use of NBTs are not considered GMOs. This conclusion was drawn from a legal analysis performed by the NBT Platform through external legal advice. (For more information about this legal analysis, please refer to the NBT Platform’s Legal Briefing Paper).

Many of the results that can be obtained through the use of NBTs are similar to those that could be obtained through the use of traditional breeding techniques, only faster and in a more precise manner. Thanks to these properties, NBTs also contribute to responding to many societal challenges: whilst enabling farmers to achieve higher yields, they also help food producers to increase the quality standards in their products and reduce food waste to the benefit of consumers and society as a whole.

 

[1] NBTs are methods that allow the plant breeding industry to develop new plant varieties in a similar—but faster and more precise—manner compared to conventional breeding techniques, and to effectively overcome a number of limitations of conventional breeding. The term “new plant breeding techniques” refers to the mandate given by EU Competent Authorities to the JRC and to the New Techniques Working Group to designate these different techniques.  The NBT Platform has chosen to focus on the seven principal techniques identified by these authorities.

[2] The NBT Platform gathers different types of members (i.e. SMEs, large companies & scientific institutions) who are all treated equally. Each of them has an equal vote in the decision making process.

NBT Platform 2-pager