GMO news related to United Kingdom

02.07.2021 |

Major differences vex discussions on assessment of new genetic technologies

London, 1 July (Lim Li Ching*) – Discussions on the assessment of new genetic technologies, such as synthetic biology and organisms containing engineered gene drives, at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) have brought to light major differences.

Clear divisions emerged between Parties that grow and export genetically modified crops, such as Brazil and Argentina, and other Parties that tend to take more precautionary approaches to living modified organisms (LMOs) and new genetic technologies, such as those from Europe. Argentina is not a Party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which is a Protocol to the CBD.

26.05.2021 |

Europe's food retail sector calls for clear regulation of new GMOs

The "Retailers' Resolution against Deregulating New GMOs" demands protection for "Non-GMO“ and organic products. All GMOs on plates and fields should remain strictly regulated in the EU; the precautionary principle and labelling must not be undermined

In a statement published today, "Retailers' Resolution: European retailers take a strong stand against deregulating new GMOs", leading companies of the European food retail sector, among them major international brands as well as numerous national and organic retailers, demand that the proven-effective regulation of GMOs on the European market be maintained. This applies to products of "old genetic engineering" (primarily soy, maize, rapeseed) as well as to those produced with "new genetic engineering" methods such as CRISPR or TALEN.

07.05.2021 |

Gene editing ban reviews spark Unite union concern

Trade union Unite is urging caution over moves by both the UK and the EU to relax rules governing the commercial use of gene editing in agriculture.

28.04.2021 |

Gene editing and the Seed Goliaths

Early in 2021, DEFRA ran a consultation on gene editing, focusing in large part on whether gene-edited organisms (GEOs) ought to be distinguished from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in law, allowing gene-edited technologies to be liberated from GMO regulations. DEFRA stated in its press release that these new gene-editing technologies will ‘help the UK reach its vital climate and biodiversity goals in a safe and sustainable way.’ But what guarantees can we have that this will be the primary goal of the sector?

This blog considers whether deregulation of genetic editing could be yet another example of policy bias in favour of large business and technological quick-fixes over more sustainable, more democratic alternatives.

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If DEFRA’s ambition is to reach the UK’s biodiversity and climate goals, ceding more power to agribusiness is neither the only, nor the most obvious solution. A transition, instead, to more agroecological farming relies on giving power back to the farmers to be stewards of agrobiodiversity and of nature’s vital genetic resources.

Bella Driessen is Research Officer at the Food Research Collaboration, based at the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London.

27.04.2021 |

Proven: Glyphosate herbicides change gene function and cause DNA damage

Bombshell finding could end EU authorization of glyphosate. Report: Claire Robinson

Glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup activate mechanisms involved in cancer development, including DNA damage – and these effects occur at doses assumed by regulators to have no adverse effects, a new study shows. The DNA damage was caused by oxidative stress, a destructive imbalance in the body that can cause a long list of diseases.

The study also found that the isolated active ingredient of Roundup – glyphosate alone – damaged DNA. This finding, according to the EU’s pesticide law, should result in a ban on glyphosate and all its formulations. In addition, the results obtained in the study could strengthen the legal cases of the cancer sufferers in the US who are suing Bayer/Monsanto because they believe that exposure to Roundup caused their disease. Three such cases have already been decided in favour of the plaintiffs.

13.03.2021 |

Post-Brexit Britain: A new GM food fight

What you need to do by 17 March

The following UK call to action has come in from a correspondent of ours, who has given us permission to publish it anonymously.

01.03.2021 |

Food and farming policy amidst new diplomatic relationships between the UK, USA and EU

A guest blog from Dr. Charles Benbrook, ED, Heartland Health Research Alliance

We live in tumultuous times. Long-held alliances have been tested and some severed, but a renewal of diplomacy and partnership between the US and EU is as inevitable as the coming spring after this darkest of winters.

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Hopefully, EU commissioners and farm leaders paid little attention to the former US Secretary of Agriculture when he predicted doom and deprivation for EU citizens and farmers if the continent rejects ‘modern agriculture’ technology.

I laughed out loud when I read about Secretary Purdue’s assertion that European farmers will fall behind in the race to feed the world if they do not adopt US-style GMO seeds and the associated pesticide-intensive cropping systems. These are the very farming systems that are eroding the economic and environmental sustainability of US commodity farms. The list of damage done includes driving up farmer costs, eroding soil health, and degrading food nutritional quality and food safety.

19.02.2021 |

Co-op becomes first British supermarket to reject GM crops and animals without strict assessments

- The company has thrown its weight behind the #NotInMySupermarket campaign

- The food campaign is coordinated by the groups Beyond GM and SlowFood UK

- According to surveys, majority of UK shoppers oppose genetically modified food

The Co-op has become the first UK supermarket to reject genetically edited food crops and animals without strict assessment and labels.

The move comes amid a Government review on the controversial items, dubbed ‘Frankenstein foods’.

Ministers are consulting on removing some controls, which might include dropping mandatory labelling on foods which contain genetically edited ingredients.

15.02.2021 |

Gene Editing Consultation

The UK Government has launched a Consultation on the Regulation of Genetic Technologies. They are proposing that plants and animals created using new experimental genetic engineering technologies (commonly referred to as gene-edited or genome edited) should be deregulated. This would remove essential protections for people, animals and the environment as well as our right to choose what we are buying and eating.

Please respond to this important consultation by Wednesday 17 March 2021.

27.01.2021 |

Gene-editing advocates ignore history at their peril

Talk with—not at—the public, or risk losing the argument again, says Jack Stilgoe

British scientists are, it’s safe to say, pro-EU. However, during the Brexit spasms, one corner of the scientific community could see a possible upside.

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Gene-editing also raises new possibilities for modified animals in agriculture, which raises additional concerns about animal welfare. Liz O’Neill, director of GM Freeze, has argued that the process of consultation and public debate looks careless.

A new public debate is welcome, but if the government isn’t careful, it risks having—and losing—the same arguments it lost last time around.

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