21 May 1998
EC agrees compromise on GM food labelling
THE European Commission yesterday caved in to pressure from EU ministers, agreeing that genetically modified food will only have to be labelled when it is “proven” to contain GM material.
The Commission had originally wanted labels that said “may contain” GM material if there was a possibility that products contained GM material.
Although the Commission had the authority to impose its preferred labelling system, it would have done so in the face of opposition from most member states.
The concession has now cleared the way for countries to adopt proposals on the labelling of GM maize and soya. This is likely to occur next Monday when EU farm ministers meet for the monthly gathering.
The agreement is regarded suspiciously in the USA, where most of the GM soya and maize originates. There is concern that testing measures might not be adequate.
Greenpeace said the compromise meant more than 90% of products containing GM organisms would not need to carry labels.
- Euro ministers call for watered-down GM label plan, FWi, 19 May — Click here
- Financial Times 21/05/98 page 7