Precision breeding is a rapidly growing technology within the global food system – selected for its capacity to elevate farmed crop yields and disease resistance. However, this novel crop solution has been met with cautionary warnings from opponents who worry about the wider implications a more lenient regulation might have on consumer health and the environment.
The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill, which applies to England only, is currently going through Parliament. Should this bill become law, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) will be responsible for introducing a separate regulatory framework for precision-bred food and feed.
“This framework will ensure that any food and feed developed using precision breeding will only enter the food supply chain if they are judged to present no risk to health, do not mislead consumers, and do not have lower nutritional value than their traditionally bred counterparts,” states the FSA.
Departure from the EU has allowed England to explore gene-editing technology, which is currently banned in Europe. Departure from the EU has allowed England to explore gene-editing technology, which is currently banned in Europe. The UK announced the new bill in May, raising the hopes of researchers in this field. Among the first crops that may appear on English dinner tables are vitamin-D-enriched tomatoes.
However, “not fit for purpose” was the response from the UK Regulatory Policy Committee to government attempts to introduce a bill to deregulate food editing of crops and animals.
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