Science, Health and Safety in the EU July02
Parliament vote in Strasbourg approved stringent requirements for
manufacturers with respect to declarations of GM ingredients in products,
including food and beverages.
are presented in the amended Reports passed: GM Food and Feed (Scheele
report) and GM Labelling and Traceability (Trakatellis report). The
socialist MEPs, supported by Liberals and the Greens, have voted in favour
of a threshold of maximum 0.5% for GM ingredients. This means that
products containing GM ingredients in excess of 0.5% will need a label
with appropriate declaration.
said: "Pollination in the farming environment and some mixing in the
storage, distribution and processing stages will be inevitable, so these
low levels are impossible to achieve. Organic food labelling allows a
threshold of 5%. An unrealistic threshold for GM ingredients in products
will force manufacturers to take a precautionary line and declare all
their products with a meaningless phrase: "May contain GM
ingredients". This will protect manufacturers against claims but it
will seriously limit consumer assessment and choice of products and do
nothing for safety for those who are concerned."
added: "Failure to recognise that “adventitiously present” trace
levels of GM products assessed as safe by European Scientific Committees,
and approved and commercialised in third countries, might be
adventitiously present in seed and commodity in the EU. A de
facto moratorium in the EU will allow the rest of the world to
evaluate, authorise, and cultivate new products that are bringing
significant environmental and economic benefits."
decided to add another layer of red tape by voting for amendments that
undermine the “one door one key” approach proposed by the Commission.
Such a procedure would provide excellence in safety assessment and a
uniform and transparent Community procedure for all applications – a
regulatory base that would provide a higher level of confidence for
supported the Commission’s proposal to label GM derived products that
are identical to their non-GM counterparts. Since no DNA or novel protein
of GMO-origin is present in these groups of products, no scientific
verification is possible and the system will be open to fraud.
of Green Biotech to contribute to the goal of Europe becoming the world's
most competitive knowledge-based economy, as set out in the "Life
Sciences and Biotechnology Action Plan" is now in question. It is
crucial that the Council of Ministers act to ensure that there is a future
for green biotechnology in Europe." said Mr Khanbhai.