Furthermore, farmers wishing to export to EU nations will still have to comply with EU regulations on GMOs, regardless of any post-Brexit trade deals, David Wolf, EU technical manager at non-GMO certification body Cert ID said.
While many industry commentators believe the UK will adopt the majority of EU regulations post-Brexit, if the UK farming sector calls for reduced regulation on GMO crop production, there is a possibility the UK law will change, Wolf suggested.
“The post-Brexit trade deals made in Brussels will shape the UK food industry for years to come, but trade deals aren’t the only aspect of the UK food industry that may be subject to change.
“EU GMO regulations are on the table for discussion, as UK farmers rally against increased regulation on chemical and GM-farming products,” Wolf said.
‘Comply with EU regulations’
“Conversely, if farmers wish to export to EU nations, their crops will inevitably have to comply with EU regulation on GMOs, regardless of any trade deals initiated in Brussels by the UK.
“Nonetheless, if the regulation of genetically modified crops is relaxed, the UK could see a huge increase in imports of GM product from Asia and the Americas.”
Many UK farmers reportedly voted for Brexit in a bid to gain control back from decisions made in Brussels, Wolf claimed.
He cited the example of the campaign to ban the herbicide glyphosate from agricultural use currently gaining momentum in the EU.
More than 2M hectares of land were treated with glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer, in England and Wales in 2014.
‘Destroy the crops’
“Many glyphosate-based weed killers and pesticides are used across the world. Often, these weed killers would also destroy the crops that they’re purposed to protect.” Wolf said.
“So producers of these weed killers often provide GMO seeds for farmers to produce crops with properties resistant to their current versions of glyphosate-based products.
“However, the EU has repeatedly blocked production of many instances of GMO produce within its boundaries.”
Food producers keen on introducing GMO ingredients in the wake of Brexit are also likely to face resistance from UK retailers, many of which prohibit their use in own-label products.
Wolf said retailers’ use of supply chain compliance software such as inSyte (from parent company FoodChain ID Europe), suggested that there might be “strong opposition” to relaxed UK regulation on GMO ingredient production.