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.”
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.
Fifty groups and individuals from civil society have written to British supermarkets asking them to show public support for continued regulation of genetically engineered crops and animals.
The UK government’s public consultation on the deregulation of genome editing is now open. There’s a lot of work to do and we will be helping our supporters to respond effectively.
In its last meeting before the summer recess the House of Lords finally debated Amendment 275 of the Agriculture Bill, which proposed to regulate products of gene editing in the UK. The amendment was withdrawn.
A new amendment to the UK’s Agriculture Bill proposes to deregulate gene edited organisms for ‘agricultural research’. In reality it is a Trojan horse designed deregulate most forms of genome editing.