MEPs demand rethink on GMO labelling

European parliament environment committee criticises "piecemeal" Commission strategy

The European Parliament's environment committee has adopted a draft resolution which could force the European Commission to change its labelling framework for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) if it is backed by the full body of MEPs next month. Meeting yesterday, the committee said the Commission's approach to labelling was "piecemeal, inconsistent in scope and lacking in vision" and that it should "rethink its strategy." The resolution will be the parliament's response to a Commission decision to set a threshold determining when a batch of non-GM food which is accidentally contaminated by GM ingredients should be labelled to warn the consumer (ENDS Daily 21 October). The move was approved by a committee of member state officials last month without parliamentary involvement. Because of the uneven adoption of legislation on GMOs, the threshold applies to only two crops - a soya and a maize - but the Commission has pledged to apply it in practice to other products. The committee is demanding a review of the 1% threshold set by the Commission within 12 months and wants "clarification" of how the measure will apply to pre-packed food imported into the EU. The commissioner responsible for the dossier, Erkki Liikanen, told MEPs earlier this month he would reconsider the proposal if the parliament opposed it (ENDS Daily 16 November).

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