THE UK Government has been urged to ditch its plans to weaken regulation over genetically modified food by the Scottish Greens, who say the move poses a threat to devolution and public health.

The warning comes as MPs prepare to debate the controversial Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill, which would see the expansion of gene-edited crops and livestock.

The Scottish Government has opposed measures contained within the bill but concerns have been raised that the legislation will impact Scotland by allowing gene-edited products to enter the country via the Internal Market Act - which bars any UK nation from stopping goods produced in another from being sold within their borders.

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Commenting, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell described the bill as “reckless” and raised concerns over the UK Government’s support for it.

He added: “It would promote untested, controversial and unlabelled gene-edited crops while straying from the EU standards that many have come to expect.

“It is part of a Tory vision of a deregulated post-Brexit Britain where rules can be ditched at the whim of ministers without democratic scrutiny. It could be a big backward step for animal welfare and consumer standards.

“Many thought that we had stopped Frankenstein foods long ago but this could result in GMOs through the backdoor. It could be used to promote the use of unsustainable and damaging farming techniques that are bad for animal welfare, the environment and the image of Scottish food and farming.”

He went on to say that the Scottish Government is “rightly opposed” to gene-editing and that the bill “threatened to override the Scottish Parliament’s wishes” by allowing gene-edited products from the rest of the UK to be sold in Scotland.

He concluded: “It is time to end the Westminster power grab. Debate and decisions on controversial technologies such as gene-editing need to happen where the power has been rightly devolved to.”