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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

Action: Ask your MP to defend our right to choose

The UK Government has introduced a Genetic Technology Bill that will impose untested – and unlabelled – GMOs on the entire UK food chain.

The ‘second reading’ of the bill took place in the House of Commons on Wednesday 15 June. We asked supporters to write to their MP in advance of the debate and will be making more specific requests soon. We are leaving this action page live as it is still well worth writing to your MP to express your concern about the bill.

Graphic illustrating threats to GM safeguards

Please write to your MP to let them know why are are against the Genetic Technology Bill:

 

  • Gene editing is just GM with better PR. All forms of genetic engineering can go wrong, whatever you call them.
  • The Genetic Technology Bill allows genetic engineers to check their own homework – that’s simply not good enough.
  • All GMOs should be properly labelled so that we can choose what we are buying and eating.
  • Farmers and food producers also have a right to choose and this bill will take that away from them because it doesn’t do anything to prevent contamination across the food chain.

Our tips

  • Email your MP direct if you already know their email address.
  • Alternatively, you can find out who represents you in Westminster and send them a message with the help of our friends at Write to Them.
  • Be polite and keep it short. It is helpful to use your own words but it is better to register your concern and have your MP ask for more than to bombard them with information.
  • As the Second Reading has now passed we don’t yet know when your MP will get another chance to oppose the bill. However, it is still worth registering your concern. You can check if your MP spoke in the debate on 15 June by watching the BBC Parliament channel’s coverage or reading the transcript on the They Work for You website.
  • Please send a copy of your email – any any reply you receive – to us on info[at]gmfreeze.org

More information

The Genetic Technology Bill only applies directly to England but pollen and seed don’t respect national borders and nor does the food chain – as the Scottish Government has made clear in a letter to the UK Government.

Please write to your Westminster MP if you are in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. We may ask you to write to your MSP, MS or MLA soon but for now the priority is letting members of the UK parliament know how many of their constituents are opposed to the plans.

The bill invents a new way of classifying genetically engineered organisms based on the idea that they “could have resulted from traditional processes or natural transformation”. This definition makes no scientific sense and was roundly rejected in the Government’s own consultation.

We will publish more on the many problems with this bill soon, but please don’t wait for that. Most MPs don’t know anything at all about genetic engineering and the most important thing for now is that they understand that it will remove everyone’s right to choose.

The bill opens the door for the creation of GM animals with no meaningful checks on safety or animal welfare. Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) have called it a significant threat for farmed animals.

We are not currently focusing on the reasons why the bill is bad for animals because the big animal charities are doing an excellent job already. Indeed, there is a risk that so much of the discussion will be about the fate of GM farmed animals that our concerns about the environmental and food safety risks with GM plants will go unnoticed.

If you would like to write to your MP about GM animals as well as the points noted above, we recommend CIWF’s information and action page.

Amendments to the bill will be proposed at the Committee and Report stages, which haven’t been scheduled yet. We will share a list of the amendments that GM Freeze supports when these are all published. This may be at short notice so please make sure you are signed up to receive our emails.

 

Other ways you can help

Back the Safeguards Under Threat page