18 October 1999
Consumer groups oppose GM rule

EUROPEAN Commission plans to allow food to contain up to 1% genetically modified (GM) material without labelling are being opposed by British consumer groups.

Several big retailers, including Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, Waitrose and Iceland, have already adopted far lower thresholds for GM contents than the European Unions proposed limit.

This is due to be debated by ministers on Thursday.

In Britain, a maximum GM content of 0.1% is emerging as the consensus standard, and food companies want to reduce levels even further.

Environmental groups, including the Soil Association, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, are also lobbying the government to put the level at 0.01%— the limit for detection.