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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

Genetic Technology Act

The Westminster Government’s Genetic Technology Bill became law on 23 March 2023, setting up mechanisms that will impose untested – and unlabelled – GMOs on the entire UK food chain. The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act only applies directly to England but that won’t stop it having an impact in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The new Act of Parliament:

Image demonstrating the risks of manipulating DNACreates a new class of “precision bred” GMOs that “could have resulted from traditional processes.”

This approach makes no scientific sense and was roundly rejected in the Government’s own consultation.

Graphic illustrating threats to GM safeguardsDismantles the safety net of independent risk assessments.

All forms of genetic engineering can go wrong – whatever they are called. The developers should not be left to check their own homework.

shoppers in blindfolds so depict unlabelled GMOs taking away our right to choose

Removes everyone’s right to choose.

Food containing genetically engineered organisms that have been re-classified as “precision bred” does not need to be labelled and no measures have to be put in place to prevent contamination across the food chain.

Happy pigWill allow the creation of GM animals.

There will be some measures to consider animal welfare but Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) nevertheless called the Genetic Technology Bill a significant threat for farmed animals.


The success of the Bill is deeply disappointing but there is still a huge amount of work to do. Most provisions in the new Act require the creation of additional regulations and GM Freeze will be working hard to persuade ministers and civil servants to build in effective safeguards wherever possible. In particular, we are still pushing for ALL foods created with GM ingredients (including “precision bred” GMOs) to be clearly labelled as such.

Passage of the bill through the House of Commons


Passage of the bill through the House of Lords


Many amendments were proposed by both MPs and peers – virtually all of which would have reduced the harm done by this damaging new legislation. You can read about the amendments that GM Freeze particularly supported in the briefings that we prepared for key stages of debate. However, only few minor improvements got through in the end.

Criticism of the bill from key committees

Devolved nation responses

The Welsh Senedd and the Scottish Parliament both refused to approve Legislative Consent motions on the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill. Unfortunately this does not actually have any direct impact on the bill becoming law.

This page was last updated: 23 March 2023