Food Law News - EU - 2000

EP News Report, 22 November 2000

PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE - Precautionary principle needs to be clarified

The EU's approach to the use of the precautionary principle should be clarified, says the Environment Committee, and not only in the light of current developments on the BSE front. Béatrice PATRIE (PES, F), reporting on a Commission communication on the precautionary principle, emphasised the need for a well-balanced position in which risks are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The committee calls on the Council of Ministers to adopt a resolution on the EU's approach to using the precautionary principle by the end of this year. It wants clearer guidelines on the application of the principle, believing it should be invoked whenever, as a result of incomplete, inconclusive or uncertain scientific information, there are reasonable grounds for concern that the environment or human, animal or plant health may suffer. The committee's resolution covers not only the definition and scope of the precautionary principle but also risk assessment, risk management and the burden of proof.

Adoption in plenary is scheduled for the December part-session in Strasbourg.

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