A new analysis by A Bigger Conversation suggests that, in its haste to deregulate agricultural gene technologies, the UK government is “choosing to get it wrong” by ignoring expertise from all sides.
It’s Evidence Week in Westminster. We don’t trust the organisers to ensure the evidence around gene editing is represented fairly. Use our alternative online platform to send key questions that your MP should be able to answer.
Our response to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) consultation on widespread regulatory reform in the UK, emphasises the importance of regulation and precaution, the complex regulatory requirements of so-called ‘disruptive’ technologies like gene editing and the urgent need for more citizen input.
The UK government says it will “unlock the power of gene editing” through a series of measures designed to make research, development and routes to market faster and more streamlined. But behind the hype many questions remain.
More than 50 groups have sent a response to the Commission, strongly opposing its plans on the grounds that “deregulation of new GM techniques would pose unacceptable risks to human and animal health and the environment. Deregulation would also prohibit citizens from knowing what they are eating and farmers from knowing what they are sowing.”
The UK’s National Food Strategy has been widely welcomed but whilst it makes some good points it is, in the end a fundamentally flawed document that avoids the conflicts of values and world views that maintain business as usual in food and farming.
Europe is currently wrestling with the same issues around the deregulation of gene editing as the UK. But, unlike supermarkets in the UK, European retailers there are taking the lead in demanding robust regulation, protection of organic and non-GMO labels and transparency for their customers.
Beyond GM has submitted its response to the UK government’s consultation on the deregulation of gene editing. Here is an excerpt and link to the full document.
In response to a civil society appeal for UK supermarkets to back strong regulation of new gene-edited crops and animals, the Co-op has made a clear statement of its support.
The current public consultation on deregulating gene editing is prejudicial, inaccessible, scientifically questionable and shows disdain for average citizens. We have submitted a complaint to Defra and while we await a response, here’s what we think should have been done differently.