EU closes GMO labelling loophole

Previously authorised gene products must now be labelled, says European Commission

Food produced from types of genetically modified soya beans and maize that have already received EU marketing clearance must now be labelled to indicate that they are the result of genetic modification, the European Commission announced today. The decision affects Monsanto soya beans and Novartis maize - two genetically modified products given market authorisation by the Commission before the entry-into-force of the novel food regulation in May. By modifying a 1979 directive on the labelling of foodstuffs, the Commission said it was able to make the labelling provisions contained in the novel food law apply retroactively to the two products. A spokesperson told journalists that it was "the first and probably last time that labelling legislation will be applied retroactively". The regulation will enter into force on 1 November 1997 unless detailed rules for the labelling of genetically modified foodstuffs - which the Commission is currently preparing - are adopted in the meantime.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: + 32 2 299 1111.

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