Progressive legislation secured, despite intensified US pressure Strasbourg, 2 July 2003. Hailed as a historic victory for consumers, the European Parliament today adopted the world's strictest and most comprehensive rules on the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Europeans praised the move, which is a practical example of EU resistance towards the intensified global campaign by the US Government and the genetic engineering (GE) industry to ease or abolish GMO legislation.
The new EU rules allow consumers to exercise their right to reject GMO food. All food and animal feed containing or deriving from GMOs will have to be clearly labeled,
making it possible for farmers, food producers and consumers to continue avoid using or
"This vote is a slap in the face of the US Administration, which thought that by ...view middle of the document...
tons of soybean exports to Europe. The third largest soy producer, Brazil, has gained
significantly from its GE-free status and has recently confirmed its determination to
forbid planting of GMOs during the upcoming growing season. The market rejection
continues to spread as at least 37 countries worldwide now have restrictions on GMOs in
"While the new rules are a significant step forward," says advocates against GMOS, "they regret that loopholes remain in the legislation, most importantly regarding dairy and meat products from animals fed with GMOs, which still do not need to be labeled. European antagonist are also concerned about the compromise amendment on the so-called 'co-existence' issue; while member states will have the right to impose mandatory measures nationally to ensure that conventional and organic agriculture will not be contaminated with GMOs, they are not obliged to take such measures.
European antagonist also remains deeply concerned about continuing attempts by the GE industry to undermine EU legislation and create creeping contamination of conventional and organic products through the seeds. Although research shows that it is possible to ensure that seeds do not get contaminated above the 0.1% detection limit, the GE industry is pushing for thresholds as high as 0.7% in seeds in its attempt to undermine the new labeling regulations. It would become harder for farmers to ensure their crops do not eventually exceed the 0.9% labeling threshold for food products.
European groups such as Green Peace and ENG (European Network on Genetics) calls on the EU member states to force the European Commission not to allow any genetic contamination in seeds and to propose legally binding legislation
regarding anti-contamination measures, including making GE producers financially
liable for potential losses incurred to conventional and organic farmers caused by genetic
contamination. The EU will pass more restrictions on GMOs in 2005 in which will almost abolish all GMO markets.