Compatibility of Breeding Techniques in Organic Systems

The rapid development of genetic engineering techniques is leading to a level of genetic disruption never experienced before.

In order to safeguard organic integrity and to ensure organic food will continue to meet the highest consumer expectations in this challenging situation, IFOAM – Organics International is proposing a number of measures to be put in place to further fortify and enhance the organic sector’s available genetic resources.

This position paper provides clarity and transparency on the criteria used by the organic sector as to what breeding techniques are compatible with organic systems, which techniques to exclude, and definitions on what should be considered as genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

We further differentiate between the criteria relevant for organic breeding as defined in the IFOAM – Organics International norms, versus the criteria for cultivars and breeds derived from nonorganic breeding programs regarding their compatibility for the use in commercial organic production and processing.