Food produced by gene-editing techniques could be in supermarkets as early as next year


Food produced by controversial gene-editing techniques could be in supermarkets as early as next year, Environment Secretary says

  • George Eustice said food law changes should pass through Parliament in months
  • He insisted gene-edited food would benefit both consumers and producers
  • It comes amid warnings from scientists about the unknown health effects

Food produced by controversial gene-editing techniques could be in supermarkets as early as next year, the Environment Secretary said yesterday.

George Eustice said changes to the law outlined in the recent Queen’s Speech should pass through Parliament in the next few months.

And he insisted gene-edited food would benefit both consumers and producers – amid warnings from scientists about the unknown health and environmental effects of the technology.

Mr Eustice said he expected the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill to get Royal Assent this year. He added: ‘We will then have a regime that enables us to issue a marketing authorisation for any gene-edited seeds.

George Eustice said changes to the law outlined in the recent Queen’s Speech should pass through Parliament in the next few months

‘There’ll probably be some of these crops that are already available and bred in other parts of the world. So it’s possible that we could have some of these crops… ready to be deployed during the course of next year.’

Gene-editing aims to produce crops which are more disease-resistant, or to boost the resilience and yields of livestock. It differs from genetically modified (GM) produce – dubbed Frankenfood – in that it alters the existing DNA of a plant or animal, rather than adding DNA from different species.

Soybeans producing longer-lasting oil and tomatoes with higher levels of blood pressure-lowering compounds are examples of what could become available.

Mr Eustice told the i newspaper it would be three to five years before ‘significant numbers’ of crops developed in the UK appeared on our shelves. He said gene editing would be introduced in crops before a decision is made on livestock.

Opponents say more research and checks are needed. Liz O’Neill of GM Freeze said: ‘Gene editing is GM with better PR – there is much that can go wrong.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk