Food Law News - EU - 2000
Commission Press Release (IP/00/778), 13 July 2000
GM FOOD - Commission takes initiative to restore confidence in GMO approval process
The European Commission decided yesterday to propose to Member States a strategy to regain public trust in the approval procedure for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The objective is to resume the authorisation process for GMOs in the near future whilst addressing public concerns on GMOs as well as problems of legal uncertainty for stakeholders. The Commission wants to give a clear response to political and legal concerns over GMOs which favours consumer choice and legal certainty. The Commission calls upon the Member States to play their part in paving the way for a clearer and more comprehensive GMO strategy in Europe in the future and promoting an open public debate. The Commission proposes to apply the key provisions on the revised directive on the release of GMOs in the environment to all new GMO approvals after agreement on its content has been reached between the Council and the European Parliament. The conciliation procedure is due to start on the 19 September. Further measures on labelling and traceability of GMOs will be put forward in the autumn.
The Commission's strategy aims to enable the relaunch of authorisations of GMO products on the basis of a reinforced framework for approvals. It entails the following:
- Anticipating the key provisions (labelling, traceability, monitoring etc) of the revised Directive 90/220 before they are transposed in all Member States. The new requirements will be incorporated into the individual authorisations of GMO products granted on the basis of the existing Directive 90/220. The notifying companies will need to put forward voluntarily commitments in line with the new requirements as part of their applications for authorisation. Such commitments would become legally binding when the authorisation is granted. Authorisations would be time-limited and control of approved products reinforced.
- A comprehensive set of labelling provisions which would cover GMOs and GMO products to be submitted by the Commission by autumn 2000
- An initiative on a traceability system for GMOs to be submitted by the Commission by autumn 2000
- Acceleration of work on related issues. This includes environmental liability, the monitoring and study of possible long-term effects on biodiversity; further research; as well as taking into account international developments (i.e. Biosafety Protocol)
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