15 June 2022
Andrew Bridgen backs the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill

Andrew Bridgen backs the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill which will unlock the potential of new technologies to promote sustainable and efficient farming and food production and asks if the EU may well also reconsider its position on gene editing and precision breeding techniques.

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con)

What restrictions are there around the world on the agricultural products of this technology? Does the Secretary of State think that in the very near future, when the European Union appreciates the benefits that this can bring to agriculture, it may well change its mind on it?

George Eustice (The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

My hon. Friend raises an important point. In fact, I was at the agrifood council when the European Court of Justice judgment came in 2018. Even countries that had some scepticism about genetically modified foods, such as Germany and France, were very concerned about that judgment. It is also the case, as he may well know, that the European Union itself is now consulting on a change to its own laws. The EU will be some years behind us, but it recognises that the ECJ judgment in 2018 was scientifically flawed. He asked what other countries around the world do. The vast majority of serious agricultural producers with the scientific expertise to assess these things treat gene editing and these precision breeding techniques as being distinct from genetically modified organisms.