Co-op supports gene editing regulation

Co-op has a made a statement in support of #NotInMySupermarket, a civil society appeal which calls for UK supermarkets to back strong regulation of new gene-edited crops and animals.

The campaign is a reaction to the ongoing UK government consultation on removing regulations and labelling on plants and animals created using ‘gene editing.’

A joint letter, organised by Beyond GM and Slow Food UK, was signed by more than 50 UK civil society groups, academics and producers, and called for UK supermarkets to oppose genetically engineered foods.

The letter asked the retailers to refuse to stock unregulated, unlabelled gene-edited foods in their stores and to support strong regulation of genetically engineered crops and foods.

“Genetic editing is one of several new technologies and innovations that may in the future help us to address the challenges facing our global food system,” said Co-op chief executive Jo Whitfield. “However, as with any new technology, it is important citizens are assured about food safety and the environmental and economic impacts are thoroughly understood before any decisions on widespread adoption are made.”

“To this end, scrutiny by independent scientists and officials, as well as engagement with civil society, is essential. We would expect government to clearly set out how it intends to regulate gene editing, whilst providing clear conditions of use and any labelling requirements.”

She added: “We have no current plans to change our policy on prohibiting genetically modified (GM) organisms, which includes organisms produced by gene editing.”

Shane Holland, executive chairman of Slow Food, said: "The Co-op is reassuring the majority of the UK public – who don't want GMO/gene edited foods on the shelves – that their wishes are respected.”

He added: “I am certain that they will gain a competitive advantage over other stores in doing so."

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