GM Food Labelling Rejected by MEPs


MEPs have rejected a proposal calling for compulsory labelling of food products that derive from animals raised on genetically-modified crops.

Current European rules oblige supermarkets and manufacturers to label any food containing raw GM ingredients, such as corn or soy, but there is no obligation when consumers buy foods that have been reared on GM feed.

The vote yesterday (Wednesday, July 7) means supermarkets can continue to sell food from animals reared on GM food without informing the consumer.

It is estimated that up to 90 per cent of meat imported into the EU has been fed on GM feed varieties. While the majority of Briton’s livestock farmers are also reliant on the imported GM feed.

But despite a recent survey by Friends of the Earth revealing fewer than 40 per cent of the public were aware that UK livestock were fed on GM diets and 90 per cent wanted to be informed, MEPs have not relented.

The European Parliament vote comes a week after Defra failed in its attempts to approve the import of six new types of GM maize feed for farmers.

EU farm minsters gathered in Luxembourg last week to vote on the GM feed which is grown in the major exporting countries of the US and Brazil.

Defra voted in favour of the feed, along with 12 other member states, but the remaining 14 members voted against or abstained.

The vote came despite warnings from EU Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli, and others within the livestock industry, that a refusal to grant an approval could lead to a repeat of last year’s disruption to feed imports and an increase in prices.

But anti-GM campaigner Pete Riley from GM Freeze said the vote reflected public concern.

“We are hugely disappointed that the UK coalition government has chosen to back the Commission instead of standing up for what consumers want.

“People in the UK clearly do not want GM anywhere near their food,” he said.

Because the EU’s 27 farm ministers failed to reach a decision, however, the honour will now rest with the European Commission to make the final call.

The Commission is likely to approve the applications, especially given its scientific advisors, the European Food Safety Authority, has already deemed the GM maize feed to be safe.

The approval could be granted ‘within a few weeks’ or after the summer break, according to a Commission spokesman.


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