Fera Science Ltd welcomes Defra’s recent publication of its response on behalf of Government to the public consultation on novel genetic technologies, such as gene editing1.
At Fera, we consider that gene editing (and other novel breeding techniques) has the potential to benefit agriculture in terms of sustainable and resilient production, improved yields and better crops and that, with appropriate oversight, these technologies present no greater risk than currently used crop breeding methods. The anticipated high level of adoption of gene editing globally and potential legislative changes in the EU2, underline the importance for the UK to revisit regulation around novel genetic improvement technologies now.
As we state in our response to the consultation3, we welcome the cautious and incremental approach the government is taking in suggesting revisions to the regulation of gene editing, as this gives time to build confidence and deploy commensurate safety and related measures along the way. We particularly welcome the Government’s commitment to further public engagement and, in-line with the recent study by the FSA4, we believe that further public outreach over gene editing will be required to better inform public opinion. We consider it important that any legislative changes continue to carefully consider the importance of food labelling for consumer choice and we note that detection of future gene edited products remains an area of considerable challenge, emphasising the importance of traceability within the food chain.
Fera’s response to the consultation is found here