Parliament rejects draft EU law allowing nanomaterials in food

  

The European Parliament rejected on Wednesday (12 March) the European Commission's proposed definition of nanomaterials added to food products.

Voting at the Assembly's plenary session in Strasbourg, lawmakers decided that the proposed definition would have exempted foods containing nanomaterial additives that are already on the market from being labelled as such.

By allowing the word "nano" in brackets on the labels, this would confuse consumers and suggest that these additives are new, which would therefore make them “erroneous and irrelevant,” the MEPs said.

Carl Schlyter, a Swedish MEP from the Green group, said the Parliament had repeatedly called for proper nano-labelling and was therefore surprised that the Commission did not take its views on board.

"Consumers have the right to know and make their own choice. They do not want the Commission to do that for them. That is why today's vote is important," Schlyter said.

The Parliament's committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) also stated a month ago that the Commission's 50% nano-particles threshold for an ingredient to qualify as ‘nano’ was much too high. This definition, they argued, disregards the European Food Safety Agency's (EFSA) advice of a 10% threshold in light of ongoing uncertainty regarding the safety of nanomaterials.

"The rules proposed by the Commission would have meant nanomaterials used in food additives would no longer have to be labelled on food products," Schlyter continued. "However, given it is precisely as food additives that nanomaterials are mostly used in food products, if at all, this would have totally undermined the proposed labelling rules," he said.

The European Consumer Organisation's (BEUC) director general, Monique Goyens, applauded the Parliament for heeding concerns about nano-foods' risks and benefits.

"The Commission should make sure its definition does not contradict the spirit of the new food labelling rules that will be effective at the end of this year. Consumer choice should not be sacrificed for the sake of food makers’ ease of doing business," Goyens said.

“We urge the Commission to take the Parliament’s call into account and come up with a new definition which stands this time on the side of consumers’ right to know what is in their food,” she continued.

The rejection by the Parliament means that the Commission will now have to present a new proposal.

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Comments

Peter Hurrell's picture

This is a very common sense stand-point and one we must all welcome. However the issue can still arise around the back door through GMO Enzymes and Fertilisers which can also include Nano-Particles. In addition Nano-Particles are also used in ever day objects we use in our house-holds (electrical appliances and house-hold goods and the likes (such as cleaning materials soaps and disinfectants and deodorants - to mention but a few,) and clothing as well as in furnishings and hard products (carpets cloths paints etc.) and these items when they are vaporised and passed in to the atmosphere constitute part of the plethora of POPs [Persistent Organic Pollutants] which every member state in the EU is party to implementing the abandonment arising from the Stockholm Conventions. We are already aware that the Military have been playing around with these Nano-Particles for years and have been experimenting with them to "advantage" way beyond the imagination, otherwise they would not be spending €100s of Billions a year on them. And you may think that this issue is a "non-issue" but believe the rhetoric when it is claimed that these Nano-Particles can be sprayed in to the highest levels of the atmosphere as singular chemicals that can then recombine upon descending to the earth and the results can be such as to even effect the ability of animals (and humans) to procreate a balanced population of male and female at birth. The enormity of these experiments is so real that there are various "governments" using these as a chemical manipulative war-fare option which could be sprayed over Countries and the likes with the result that the first instances of their effects would not be noticed for - say - 9 months when the ratio of females to males was disproportionately out of balance. And it can be done and has already been. Likewise Companies are also playing around with these Nan-Particle chemicals in a selfish manner for commercial aims. The suggestion that a major group of supermarkets and shopping malls and individual "up-market" store have the ability to paint their shop interiors with such Nano-Particles embodied within the paint such that they can respond to "ultra-sound" or "electronic" manipulative signals with the effect that they can affect the buying moods of the public to buy expensive or seasonal goods with the idea of clearing shelves. Imagine the international store of Harrods in London having such chemicals painted within its environs and there was a need to sell Gucci and Armani goods or expensive Swiss Watches - just before new models were to be issued - and then activating the electronics to signal the sales frenzy in the public to buy them. The only time anyone would notice would be after the sales were completed and the stock had been reduced significantly or even cleared! Far fetched, definitely not!
This is the era of concern that Nano-Particles now brings to us.