Italy's Senate demands delay on EU GMO law

Senators ask government to oppose revision of EU directive on genetically modified organisms

Italy's Senate has pressed the Italian government to oppose further work to revise the EU's directive on the "deliberate release" of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the environment. In a vote last week, the senators attacked the EU directive for failing to consider the effects that genetic engineering might have on future generations. Current scientific evidence was not sufficient to rule out possible risks arising from the use of genetic techniques, senators agreed, and it was difficult to predict the impact of GMOs on natural ecosystems. The Senate also stressed the need to protect biodiversity. Crop biotechnology products also came in for criticism, with senators agreeing that safety analysis had not properly taken into account the possible effects of modified soya, maize and other crops on consumers, especially in terms of allergies. They sharply criticised "poor" labelling of foods containing modified ingredients, which they said represented a limitation on the democratic rights of European citizens. The agriculture committee of the chamber of deputies (the lower house of parliament) passed a similar resolution last October, when MPs issued a document highlighting the risks of biotechnology for the environment and public health.

Follow Up:
Italian Senate, tel: +39 6 67061.

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