Food Law News - EU - 1998

March 1998: NOVEL FOODS - Labelling of Genetically Modified Soya and Maize

MAFF Food Safety Information Bulletin, March 1998

Labelling of Genetically Modified Soya and Maize

At the EC Standing Committee for Food meeting on 18 December 1997, several Member States sought, through changes, to improve the effectiveness of the European Commission proposed Regulation for the labelling of genetically modified (GM) soya and maize. However, at the following Standing Committee meeting on 15 January 1998, the Commission put the proposal unamended to a vote. As a result, it failed to secure a qualified majority and the unmodified text will now be considered by the Internal Market Council. Unless Council agrees to amend the proposal unanimously, the Regulation will almost certainly be adopted in the next few months.

The European Commission put forward in December a proposed Regulation (III/5565/97 - Rev 3) providing detailed rules for the labelling of food ingredients obtained from GM soya and maize. This would require labelling where:

Voluntary labelling indicating the absence of GM material is also permitted.

MAFF is considering what further action can be taken to persuade the Commission to improve its proposal. However, given the short implementation period envisaged by the Commission, those companies selling foods containing soya or maize ingredients that are likely to be covered by this Regulation, but which have not yet made arrangements to change their labels to declare the presence of GM material, would be well advised to consider doing so now.

This proposal is intended to replace Commission Regulation 1813/97 which came into force on 1 November 1997. This applied the same labelling requirements to GM soya and GM maize approved under Directive 90/220 as that contained in the Novel Foods and Novel Food Ingredients Regulation (258/97).

A copy of the Commission's proposal (III/5565/97) on the labelling of GM soya and maize can be obtained from Additives and Novel Foods Division, JFSSG, MAFF, Room 239c, Ergon House c/o Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR. Tel +44 (0)171 238 6224; fax +44 (0)171 238 6382.

[See also information based on the MAFF letters of 22 January 1998 and 5 January 1998.

To go to current EU Food Law News page, click here.
To go to main Food Law Index page, click here.