Food Law News - EU - 2002

Economic and Social Committee (CES/02/42), 31 May 2002

GM FOODS - ESC for wider labelling of GM products

After a very lively debate in its plenary session on 30 May, the European ESC adopted an opinion on Genetically modified food and feed (rapporteur: Mrs Thomas, Various Interests, United Kingdom). The opinion was adopted by 53 votes to 40, with four abstentions.

A number of members took the view that minute traces of GM material in otherwise GM-free food should not require labelling as such. Nonetheless, a majority considered that the labelling of GM products should be extended to all foods and animal feed that have been produced with GMOs, that is those products which have been manufactured with GM food processing aids such as enzymes as well as non-GM enzymes which have been produced from GM micro-organisms. This extension would enable consumers to be fully aware of the application of genetic engineering throughout the food product chain and enable them to make a more informed choice.

The ESC thus welcomes the proposal to label as GM those food and feed products which have a content of GM materials of 1% or more. It recommends that a set of standards be developed for application to those imported GM products which are approved in their country of origin but not in the EU.

Addressing the plenary session, Mrs Thomas said that a majority of Agriculture section members felt that "all GM products should be labelled". She added: "The most important question here is: which products are GM products? The answer is: all products made from GM material."

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