EU Commission refuses GMO labelling rethink

Massive parliamentary opposition fails to move Liikanen on 1% contamination threshold

The European Commission will push ahead with its labelling strategy for genetically modified (GM) foods, despite overwhelming opposition from the European Parliament, a spokesperson said today. MEPs voted yesterday by a margin of 510 to 25 to adopt a resolution which describes the strategy as "piecemeal, inconsistent in scope and lacking in vision" and calls on the Commission to "re-present its proposals" (ENDS Daily 21 October). Drafted by the parliament's environment committee, the resolution addresses an EU law setting a threshold above which foods must be labelled as containing GM if accidental contamination takes the proportion of GM material above 1%. Food producers must demonstrate that they are not using ingredients derived either of two licensed GM crops: a maize and a soya bean variety. However, if any of the product's ingredients show a contamination level above 1% they must be labelled. The relevant EU commissioner, Erkki Liikanen, recently told MEPs it was possible to detect contamination below this level, but not to quantify it - a key requirement for a threshold to be set (ENDS Daily 16 November). Mr Liikanen's spokesperson told ENDS Daily the Commission had made a "political commitment" to review the threshold within a year - one of the key demands in the parliament's resolution.

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111. References: The text of the resolution is available on the parliament's web site.

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