THE recent article “Scotland may be ‘forced’ to accept modified foods sale” (January 8) has flagged up a very important issue, so I was surprised at the lack of reaction from readers. While the detail was slightly inaccurate, the important gist is that the UK Government is attempting to remove the few existing controls from a new generation of genetically modified (GM) products, but at least allowing the public an opinion.

At the present time in Britain GM products are regulated, and (mostly) labelled – by law – allowing consumers to decide whether to accept the potential side-effects on health and environment.

READ MORE: Brexit: Scotland may be 'forced' to sell GM food if England changes law

The UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is now proposing to redefine the term GM to exclude the latest technique “gene editing” – which, as it sounds, means chopping and changing, in a lab, the blueprint of life itself. To quote the Defra introduction directly: “Depending on the results of part 1 (of the public consultation), Defra may change the legislation to amend the definition of a GMO as it applies in England ... This would mean that this legislation does not apply to organisms produced by gene editing and other genetic technologies if they could have been developed using traditional breeding methods.”

The last part of this quote stretches credibility to the point where the elastic breaks. The GM industry has been working for years now at the European level to shrug off regulatory control, so their latest technique is presented as radically different from what went before. It is not – in fact as time goes on more and more unwanted “edits” are being discovered by independent scientists, just as happened with the earlier GM methods.

The European Court of Justice has already ruled that gene editing is of course a type of GM – but we know what Boris and co think of European opinion, and now’s their chance.

The final slap in the face to Scots is that this consultation has been ambiguously presented as applicable only to the English public. This is clearly not the case, as the consultation questions include “Scotland” in the list of responders’ countries. And as The National article made clear: “The UK Internal Market Act would force Scotland to accept the marketing, sale and free circulation of products in Scotland, which do not meet the standards set out in the Scottish regulations.”

I would recommend concerned readers check the facts at then submit their own views to the consultation before the deadline of March 17.

Colin Holden

STAY home, work from home where possible, restrictions on click-and-collect and tightening of takeaway food establishments. These I understand, the fear for the NHS I understand. What I don’t understand is the almost blatant ignoring of the section of the community that is keeping us fed – I refer of course to supermarket staff.

Supermarket workers have already died from contracting this disease. It is still not law for customers to wear masks within supermarkets – it is a recommendation. WHY?

I will admit to a personal axe to grind – my daughter works for a major supermarket. My fear for her welfare is equal to my friend who has a daughter who is a Covid nurse. We have no contact with our respective daughters – each day is a hope that they will not contact us saying the have symptoms. Both these girls in their own fields are saving us, the general public, and neither have the safety they should have. Surely frontline workers such as NHS workers and supermarket workers should be further up the line for vaccination? I am in my 70s and would gladly allow my daughter to have my vaccination – she has her life in front of her, hopefully.

Ms Sturgeon – this is a plea to you. The more shops and outlets are closed, the more people are channelled into supermarkets – so greater the risk to customer and server. Please turn some attention to this – there are thousands of supermarket workers doing their jobs who deserve to be protected – how else will we get our food if the supermarket workers start isolating, contracting and dying from coronavirus? Supermarkets are also big super spreaders – think about it!

Frieda Burns

ALLOW me to make a respectful plea to all those being interviewed by any media on the subject of Scottish independence and the possibility of a future referendum.

Unionist politicians and supporters of the Union keep trotting out the nonsense of “once in a generation”. They all conveniently omit the remainder of the quote: “unless there is a material change of circumstance”. Please would anyone interviewed remind the world of the misleading nature of the shortened quote and go on to point out two facts.

There could be no better example of a material change of circumstance than being taken out of the European Union against our will. After all, 62% of Scots voted to remain in the EU.

We were constantly told by Unionists prior to the 2014 referendum that the ONLY way that we could GUARANTEE staying part of the EU was to vote No in 2016. The irony is profound and will not escape anyone.

Hamish Moore