Between 26-28 January 2024, a citizen jury of 24 was convened at the Schloss Thurnau in Upper Franconia, Germany to deliberate about new genomic techniques (NGTs) used in agriculture and food/feed production
Between 26-28 January 2024, a citizen jury was convened at the Schloss Thurnau in Upper Franconia, Germany to deliberate about new genomic techniques (NGTs) used in agriculture and food/feed production, ahead of the vote of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on plants obtained by certain NGTs and their food and feed.
24 jury members were selected based on stratification criteria, with the primary consideration being discursive representation on the topic of NGTs. The jury’s selection aimed at striking gender balance and further demographic criteria. Nearly half of the jury members fell within the age group of 18-24, reflecting the importance of youth perspectives in decision-making, especially on the issue of NGTs as they will be impacted most by decisions made today. Similarly, the second largest contingent, comprising almost half as well, represented the age group of 25-34. The remaining jury positions were filled by individuals from older age categories, ensuring a comprehensive range of experiences and viewpoints. The jury members represented a diverse range of fields of study, including medicine, literature, life sciences, law, mathematics, and others.
In addition to age diversity, the jury’s composition also reflected a broad geographical spectrum. While the majority of the jury members were German nationals, some jurors also came from neighbouring countries such as Austria and Italy. Furthermore, recognizing the global impact of the NGTs and the impact of the prospective EU regulation on all people in the EU market, irrespective of their nationalities, the jury also comprised jurors from two non-EU countries, Nigeria and Japan. The jury members were selected from approximately 700 people who filled in a survey distributed to all Bavarian universities and Hochschulen, which included demographic questions and questions regarding participants’ opinions on NGTs.
The central focus of the jury's deliberation was a question aimed at leading an informed and structured discussion surrounding the needs, purposes, conditions, and impacts of NGTs. Over the course of three days, the jury engaged in intensive dialogue, drawing upon a diverse range of perspectives and expertise provided by 6 expert and 2 stakeholder witnesses. The witnesses represented diverse points of view regarding the applications of NGTs. The jury’s discussions were guided by a commitment to fostering understanding, addressing concerns, and exploring potential answers to the remit question. The table deliberations took place in German and English, while the plenary was held in the English language. The observations, assessments and recommendations were written in English by the members of the jury.
This report serves as a policy brief with all observations, assessments, and recommendations agreed by the jury with a minimum of 75 percent of the jurors’ votes. This report aims to provide policymakers, stakeholders, and the public with perspectives and considerations surrounding the use of NGTs in agriculture and food/feed production, as articulated by the members of the jury. There are 18 final recommendations produced by the jury. Through thoughtful analysis and dialogue, the jury sought to contribute to informed decision-making processes.
The citizen jury took place with the contribution of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Oberfrankenstiftung and the funds of the Bundesamt fur Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit under the auspices of the Innovate Food Law DFG project.