MEPs call for the labelling of GMOs

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has endorsed the Commission’s proposal to label all food made from genetically modified products.

The legislative resolution, presented by the Greek Christian
Democrat MEP, Antonios Trakatellis, calls for the labelling of all
food for human consumption that contains genetically modified

However, the resolution on regulation concerning
traceability and labelling of GMOs goes much further than the
original Commission’s proposal. It calls for the labelling of
products (such a milk, eggs, meat, sugar) that are derived from
animals raised on GMO-feed.

The resolution was adopted by 28 votes in favour
and 25 votes against. The tight vote puts the final adoption of the
resolution in the European Parliament plenary session into doubt
because the majority in the Environmental Committee is different
from the majority in the European Parliament.


The author of the resolution, MEP Trakatellis, voted against
the amended text, and vowed to fight for his original proposal in
the plenary. He opposes the adopted amendments that impose
labelling on products that are derived from animals raised on
GMO-feed because there is no change in DNA in such products (for
example sugar, milk). Furthermore, it is difficult to establish
with full certainty whether an animal had at a certain point been
fed with genetically modified feed or not.

Friends of the Earth welcomed the adoption of
the resolution and called on the European Parliament to adopt the
resolution in the plenary, for the good of consumers and the
environment. Friends of the Earth Campaigner, Geert Ritsema, said:
"This is a vote for common sense, food safety and the environment.
But most of all this vote acknowledges the right of consumers to
know whether their food is produced from GMOs."

The European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) has
called for labels to cover all GM food and food ingredients
produced from GMOs. "Today more than 30,000 food products can
contain GM soy or maize derived ingredients. Labelling must
therefore not be limited to food still containing genetically
modified DNA or protein but must be extended to food and food
ingredients produced from GMOs where this is no longer detectable.
These derivatives - such as oil and sugar - make up a very large
part of most consumers' diets," said BEUC in a reaction to the
European Parliament report. BEUC also insists that GMO-free labels
must be avoided because "they are potentially misleading and might
be an incentive to fraud".


In July 2001, the European Commission issued proposals on
labelling and tracing of GMOs. The aim is to find a system of using
genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in a way that ensures a high
level of environmental and health protection.


The European Parliament will vote on the resolution on the
labelling of GMOs at its plenary session in July.

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