Skip to content
for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

Campaign groups demand action as Rothamsted Research GM field trial is ruled unlawful GM Freeze and GeneWatch UK write to Michael Gove following key ECJ ruling

Immediate release (25 Jul 2018)

Liz O’Neill 07811 211 404; Helen Wallace 0330-0010507; 07903-311584;

GM Freeze and GeneWatch UK have today written to Environment Secretary Michael Gove, to demand the immediate halt of an unlawful  trial of gene edited plants at Rothamsted Research (1). The trial of genetically modified (GM) Camelina sativa, includes some plants which have been genetically modified using new gene editing techniques. These plants did not go through the required legal process of an environmental risk assessment and public consultation.

Environmental and consumer organisations have repeatedly pointed out that gene edited plants and animals are covered by regulations for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which require environmental risk assessments, food safety assessments and traceability and labelling of products. These important legal requirements are designed to protect human health and the environment and to allow consumers to choose to avoid GM foods, should they wish to do so. However, the field trial at Rothamsted was allowed to go ahead based on incorrect advice that these important safeguards were unnecessary. Today, a ruling from the European Court of Justice confirmed that GMO regulations do in fact apply to gene edited crops.

The organisations call for the current trial to end immediately and for any future trials to follow the legal requirements for GMOs.



Liz O’Neill (Director, GM Freeze): 07811 211 404;

Helen Wallace (Director, GeneWatch UK): 0330-0010507 (office); 07903-311584 (mobile);


Notes for Editors:

(1)    Letter from GeneWatch UK and GM Freeze to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

(2)    Objection to Rothamsted Research’s original application to plant the contested trial, signed by 26 organisations, including GeneWatch UK and GM Freeze.