Genetic Technology Bill
The Westminster Government is pushing through a Genetic Technology Bill that could impose untested – and unlabelled – GMOs on the entire UK food chain. The bill only applies directly to England but that won’t stop it having an impact in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If it passes, the bill will:
Invent a new class of GMOs that “could have resulted from traditional processes or natural transformation”.
This approach makes no scientific sense and was roundly rejected in the Government’s own consultation.
All forms of genetic engineering can go wrong – whatever they are called. The developers should not be left to check their own homework.
Remove everyone’s right to choose.
Food containing genetically engineered organisms that have been re-classified as “precision bred” will not be labelled and no measures will be put in place to prevent contamination across the food chain.
Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) have called the bill a significant threat for farmed animals and have an information and action page on their website.
The Genetic Technology Bill was passed by MPs on Monday 31 October without any amendments. The bill is now going through the House of Lords.
The Second Reading of the bill in Lords took place on Monday 21 November. This was the first time that peers had debated the bill (first reading is just a formal introduction to the bill) and concerns were raised about labelling, traceability and more. You can watch BBC Parliament’s coverage of the Lords Second Reading on BBC iPlayer, or read a line by line record on TheyWorkforYou’s website.
We shared a briefing with peers in advance of the debate and hope to work with those who share our concerns to draft and support useful amendments.
Passage of the bill so far
- The bill was highlighted in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022 and introduced on 25 May.
- The bill was briefly debated by MPs, in the House of Commons Second Reading on 15 June. You can watch the debate on BBC iplayer or on Parliament Live.
- A committee of MPs considered the bill in more detail in June and July.
- MPs debated the bill, and a number of proposed amendments, in the Report Stage and Third Reading on 31 October. You can watch the debate on BBC iplayer or read a record of what was said and how MPs voted on TheyWorkForYou’s website (click ‘Next debate’ and ‘Previous debate’ just below the picture to navigate the parts of the debate).
Find out more
- Read GM Freeze’s detailed briefing prepared for the Commons Report Stage and Third Reading
- Read GM Freeze’s evidence to the bill committee
- Read a statement from over 90 international scientists and policy experts opposing the use, in the bill, of the term “precision breeding”
- Read a joint statement from 36 civil society organisations (including GM Freeze) raising concerns about the Genetic Technology Bill
- Read a letter from representatives of the organic sector, to the new Environment Secretary Rani Jayawardena, highlighting serious concerns about the bill.
- Read our briefing on why Gene editing is GM with better PR.
- Join the email list to ensure year hear first about ways that you can help