US unimpressed and unconvinced by new GMO legislation in the EU

The US farm industry sees the EU’s new GM food traceability and labelling system a potentially bigger barrier to trade than the informal moratorium on GM food authorisations.

The Bush administration and the US farm industry reacted negatively to the vote in the European Parliament on 2 July on the two GMO regulations, which pave the way towards the lifting of the five-year de facto moratorium on the authorisation of GM crops in the EU (see also,EURACTIV 3 July 2003). The US side warns the new labelling requirements will create a new kind of trade barrier with heavy cost implications.

The American Farm Bureau, the largest farm organisation in the US, warns "With this new labelling and traceability requirement, the EU has only made a bad situation worse," and urged the Bush administration to continue to "aggressively prosecute" the case in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the EU (see also

EURACTIV 14 May 2003).

The US side says the 0.9 per cent labelling threshold is arbitrary as there is no data or scientific finding that even a 100 per cent biotech product is unsafe.

On 1 July the UN's food standards agency the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted a set of standards that may justify the EU's approach on food safety grounds in the WTO (see also,

EURACTIV 1 July 2003).


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