Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has expressed serious concern at the British governments attempt to move away from EU regulations on food standards.
Declan McAleer said:
“The transition period has just ended and the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs has opened a consultation on gene editing. This is a worrying indication that food production rules will be changing.
“Gene editing or GMOs involves changing the properties of a plant to make it more resistant to things like pests. Due to food safety concerns, the use of GMO plants is highly restricted in the EU and in the north under EU protocol.
“What Britain appears intent on doing is removing restrictions on GMO plants where the hybrid plant, even if it was created in a lab, could technically have been created through natural breeding methods. This differs from EU rules and Britain may very soon be producing or importing food which was created using methods not authorised in the EU.
“This could have a serious impact for our local farmers as it would distort the British market and make it more difficult for our farmers to compete in it. Greater divergence will also create additional challenges for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks at our ports.
“This is another potentially disastrous consequence of Brexit which could result in disruption to our export volumes to the British market and damage the cause serious economic damage to local agrifood businesses.”