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UK Moves to Allow Sale of Gene-Edited Food

Legislation has been introduced in the UK that would allow the sale of gene-edited food, New Scientist reports.

It adds that the European Union treats crops that have undergone gene editing the same as ones that have been genetically modified and strictly regulates them, but that the UK is moving away from that stance now that it has left the EU. Under this new law, gene-edited crops could be sold in England as well as in Scotland and Wales, though not Northern Ireland, as it is still subject to some EU regulations.

New Scientist adds that there are a range of estimates as to when gene-edited food could be on market shelves, noting that environment minister George Eustice said next year, while Gideon Henderson, chief scientific adviser at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it would be four to five years. It also reports that most, 88 percent, of the UK public opposes this rule change and that of the supermarkets it surveyed, none would confirm they would carry the items.

Earlier this week, researchers from the John Innes Centre announced they developed a gene-edited tomato that was enriched with vitamin D.

The UK also recently changed its rules to make it easier to develop and research gene-edited crops.