EU fuels GM controversy

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Related tags: Gm crops, European union, Gm

Food containing genetically modified ingredients banned in Britain
is to go on sale in there with a GM-free label under controversial
proposals to be...

Food containing genetically modified ingredients banned in Britain is to go on sale in there with a GM-free label under controversial proposals to be presented this week by the European Commission, UK newspaper The Independent reports. The plan, which follows lobbying from America, one of the world's biggest producers of GM crops, would allow traces of untested products to contaminate food claiming to be GM-free. The proposal, to be presented this week at an EU Council of Environment Ministers, may anger environmentalists, consumer groups and organic producers who are opposed to allowing any GM traces in their food. They will see it as a "licence for contamination, " the paper continues. The proposals, which were not included in earlier drafts of the EU working document, follow a visit by David Byrne, the health and consumer protection commissioner, to America, where he came under immense pressure to alter EU rules. Traces of GM food of up to 1 per cent are currently allowed to be sold in "GM-free" produce but only if the genetically modified food has been approved for marketing or testing in the European Union. But the new rules would allow traces of GM crops, including soya beans and insect-resistant maize grown for animal feed in America, to be included in GM-free foods on sale in Britain. Such crops are not licensed for sale in the UK and the move will provoke fears that GM crops, such as Aventis' Starlink maize, which was outlawed for human consumption in the US because of fears that it could lead to allergic rashes in humans and diarrhoea, will be allowed in "through the back door." The Commission has yet to decide on the percentage of GM traces to be allowed in the unlicensed products. Pete Riley, of Friends of the Earth, said: "If ministers agree this then it treats the consumers' objections to GM food with contempt. It's a licence to sell GM food and feed throughout Europe without going through the full safety and approval procedures laid down in European law."​ Six European countries currently opposed to the approval of new GM crops, including France, Denmark, Italy, Greece, Austria and Luxembourg, are expected to raise objections at the meeting. Source: The Independent

Related topics: Regulation, Grains

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