Food Law News - EU - 2000

Commission Memo (MEMO/00/124), 21 December 2000

GM FOODS - Main results of the Environment Council 18-19 December 2000 - Traceability and labelling of GMOs

The following is an extract from the report of the Environment Council 18-19 December 2000

The Commissioner thanked the Council for its efforts in reaching an agreement on the revised Directive 90/220 "Deliberate release of GMOs into the environment". The conciliation will formally be concluded on Thursday 20 December, which means the European Parliament and the Council could adopt the revised directive by mid-February next year.

The revised directive will contain specific provisions for labelling and traceability of live GMOs. It will also contain harmonised risk assessment, time limited consents and mandatory consultations of the relevant Scientific Committees.

Ministers gave broad support to the Commission's intentions to proceed in two phases to establish a regulatory framework for the authorisation and control of GMOs, which is reliable and safe for the consumers and the environment.

The framework will also allow for citizens to make an informed choice with respect to the purchase and consumption of GMO products.

The first phase will include a proposal for a horizontal instrument with distinct and specific requirements for traceability of GMOs and derived products, as well as labelling provisions for live GMOs. This will ensure a coherent framework for genetically modified products at all stages of placing on the market. This first phase will also include a legislative initiative on genetically modified seeds and it will be concluded by the first quarter of 2001. At the same time the Commission will elaborate traceability guidelines under the revised 90/220 as well as traceability requirements under the seed Directive.

The second phase, to be completed by mid-2001, includes preparation of a legislative proposal for genetically modified food labelling. Several Ministers also declared that they would like to see, in addition to labelling of GMOs and GMO derived products, a GMO free line

Before the end of the next Presidency the Commission also intends to come forward with a revision of the Novel Food Regulation.

The Commissioner stated: "When we have the proposals and revised directives on the table, then we will to decide on the next steps to take. The Commission hopes that we then can tackle the issue of the moratorium and pending approval of products".

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