On 14 and 17 October, the Agriculture and Environment Councils were expected to take key decisions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). However, the decisions are likely to be postponed due to major disagreements among the Member States regarding the rules on labelling and traceability of GM products.
The most contentious issues for the debates in the Council
- the treshold for labelling foods or feeds that contain GMOs.
The Commission wants the products with more than 1% of GM material
to be labelled, but the Parliament demanded that this threshold be
0.5 per cent.
- the legal basis to be used for the granting of an authorisation
to place genetically modified food and feed on the market. The
Commission is in favour of a centralised authorisation procedure by
the European Food Safety Authority, while the Parliament prefers a
- the thresholds set for traces of unauthorised GMOs that have
nevertheless been assessed as risk free.
With the adoption of the Commission’s package,
the Council could decide to lift the unofficial moratorium on
authorizing new GM products, in place since June 1999. However,
Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg want strict
rules on labelling and traceability to be put in place before
deciding to lift the moratorium.