A HIGHLY criticised Brexit consultation that has raised fears Scotland will be flooded with so-called Frankenstein foods ends on Wednesday.

If Boris Johnson’s aim to introduce gene editing succeeds, shoppers in Scotland may be duped into buying foods that have been genetically modified, the Scottish Government has warned.

Although the Scottish Government remains opposed to genetically modified (GM) foods in line with the EU, the Internal Market Act means products that do not meet regulations here could still be marketed and sold in Scotland.

Shoppers could be “left in the dark” about what they are buying as the Act means that any decision taken down south over how to label the foods would now apply here, according to Ben Macpherson, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment.

READ MORE: Westminster 'breaking own rules' with genetically modified food consultation

There are also worries that any divergence from Europe will further disrupt exports, potentially having a drastic effect on Scotland’s food and drink sector which relies heavily on good provenance in its marketing.

Martin Häusling, agriculture spokesman for the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament said: “Consumer studies have demonstrated again and again that consumers do not want GM-food and feed”.

“The UK will, therefore, lose a big market for its gene-manipulated products.”

Supermarket bosses are also wary, with James Bailey, executive director for Waitrose warning that shoppers tend to be opposed to gene editing “If our customers don’t buy the food, there is no point,” he said.

The Scottish Government is aligned with the EU’s stance that genetic editing is a form of GM. The latter involves inserting new genes into a DNA strand while GE involves the cutting and removing of undesirable parts of genes.

“Scotland’s policy on the cultivation of GM crops has not changed – we will be maintaining Scotland’s GM-free crop status, in line with our commitment to stay aligned to EU regulations and standards, and have made our views known to UK Ministers,” said Macpherson.

“The UK Government’s consultation highlights the fundamental threat to devolution and Scotland’s interests introduced by the Internal Market Act. The Internal Market Act has been imposed on Scotland in contravention of established constitutional conventions and despite an express refusal of consent by the Scottish Parliament.

“While any definition change outlined in the UK Government consultation would apply to products made in England, the Internal Market Act could force Scotland to accept the marketing, sale and circulation of products here even though they fail to meet the standards set out in Scottish regulations.

“This would include labelling decisions, so Scottish consumers could be left in the dark about the content of the product they are buying.”

READ MORE: Warning of 'trucks rolling over Border' as England plans to legalise GM food

The Soil Association claims the science behind the consultation is not as clear cut as has been presented by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

A spokesperson said the consultation was positing gene editing as a technology that mimics the DNA changes of natural breeding.

“This is incorrect,” said a Soil Association spokesperson. “Gene editing is far more powerful in its abilities to artificially change genomes than older genetic modification, let alone natural breeding. It is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of new and rapidly developing techniques for disrupting DNA.”

Patrick Holden, CEO of the UK Sustainable Food Trust, warned that gene editing would further narrow gene pools and intensify food and farming systems.

“Gene editing is likely to be deployed in such a way that it will further accelerate the devastating narrowing of the gene pool which has been a feature of postwar farming, not only in the UK but throughout the world,” he said.

A Defra spokesperson said: “Now that we have left the EU, we have the opportunity to make coherent policy decisions on gene editing based on current science and evidence.”