GMWatch publishes its response to UK government consultation on deregulation of gene editing

12 March 2021 — GMWatch

Response to UK Government consultation on Genetic Technologies

Government should get acquainted with the science

GMWatch has submitted its response to the UK government consultation on the deregulation of gene editing in food and farming. The response is co-authored by GMWatch editor Claire Robinson, acting on behalf of GMWatch, and molecular geneticist Dr Michael Antoniou, who is responding as an individual.

The response is published here.

Claire Robinson commented, “The government claims it is being led by science and it expects members of the public who respond to the consultation to give evidence in support of their views. This in itself is an outrageous request, given that gene editing is a highly technical subject and members of the public cannot be expected to immediately learn everything that’s needed in order to be able to give evidence for their views.

“But what is even more outrageous is that the materials that the government has published to back its plan to deregulate this new experimental genetic engineering technology contain no scientific evidence or references at all.

“In our response, we show the government a small fraction of the science that they should have considered before pursuing their reckless plan to remove vital safeguards for health and environment around gene-edited foods, crops and livestock animals. It is not too late for the government to do its homework and get acquainted with the science they should have studied long ago – assuming, of course, that they have any interest in the science.”

Time is fast running out on the consultation, with only a few days left to go, so please do let the government know why you think deregulation of gene editing is a bad move. People don’t have to get involved in the level of complexity found in our response unless they want to. There are simple guides that anyone can use for taking part in the consultation here and here – the same information is on both pages, but it’s presented a little differently, so use whichever you prefer.

If you’re an organic farmer or grower and/or a member of the Soil Association, their customised guide on how to respond is here.

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