UK anti-GMO groups aim to block relaxed CRISPR crop rules gaining bipartisan support in Parliament

| | July 29, 2020
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A new Agriculture Bill​​ is making its way through the UK Parliament, and an amendment has been tabled that would give the current UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, the power to change the definition of a GMO and re-classify many forms of genome editing as non-GM, they say.

That would mean that those techniques were no longer regulated and could be used on UK farms or in its food without the public’s knowledge or consent, claim Beyond GM, GM Freeze and GMWatch.

The campaigners argue that a “key and worrying aspect”​ of the amendment, tabled by Lords Cameron, Krebs and Rooker and Baroness Hayman, is that it proposes to give the UK Secretary of State the power to alter the definition of GMOs in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, without the need for debate or parliamentary scrutiny.

Related article:  Gene-editing pioneer Jennifer Doudna calls for greater accountability on anniversary of China scientist CRISPR gene editing human embryo
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However, support for the amendment has been seen in other quarters. UK farming representatives, the National Farmers Union (NFU), is backing an influential grouping of cross-party MPs and Lords …. The NFU said the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Science and Technology in Agriculture maintains that the proposed amendment would pave the way for the UK to discard “damaging EU rules blocking access to precision breeding tools”​ ….

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