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Guest Blog: New Law Gives GMOs Free Rein but Food Traders Can Help Defend the Right to Choose

English law on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has changed in ways that should deeply concern ethical food traders and their customers. GM Freeze Director Liz O’Neill explains what’s happened and what can be done to improve the situation.


Guest Blog: New Law Gives GMOs Free Rein but Food Traders Can Help Defend the Right to Choose 1

The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act became law on 23 March, creating a new class of GMO – the “precision bred organisms” (PBO). Plants and animals that have been genetically manipulated in the laboratory will be classed as “PBOs” if their developers self-declare that the genetic changes “could [hypothetically] have resulted from traditional processes”.

These “PBOs” will be exempt from the individual risk assessments that are currently carried out before any GMO can be released and, as things stand, they will not be labelled on food packaging.

Clear opposition from the environmental, animal welfare and agroecology movements wasn’t enough to stop the new law, but a recent meeting of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) brought some

Although the new Act does not require labelling of “PBOs”, there are alternative mechanisms
that could be used to protect our right to avoid these re-branded GMOs. New research
commissioned by the FSA showed that this is exactly what consumers want and the FSA’s March board meeting agreed to keep the issue under review. That makes it more important than ever that ethical food traders speak up.

One way to make your voice heard is to sign and share the Don’t Hide What’s Inside petition. The petition is building support online but GM Freeze is also keen to develop other ways for businesses and their customers to show their support for labelling of all GMOs. To play your part, please get in touch with GM Freeze on or 0845 217 8992.

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