Australia could become one of the first countries in the world to deregulate several new genetic modification (GM) techniques in animals, plants and microbes if government plans succeed. Anyone could use techniques like CRISPR to genetically modify animals without the regulator or the rest of us knowing.
The new GM methods are being used to develop more muscular and disease resistant livestock, designed to endure confinement without getting sick; and to create animals that never reach sexually maturity so they eat less food.
Bacterial antibiotic resistance genes just found in gene edited cows illustrate the potential human health risks that deregulation poses. If the biotechnology industry gets its way, GM animals and their products could enter our food chain without safety assessment or labelling.
The Gene Technology Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Regulations 2019 will become law, unless the Senate disallows them on 17th September. Please contact your elected representatives to demand that all GM organisms continue to be assessed for safety before being released into our environment and food supply.