Food Law News - EU - 1998
20 March 1998: NOVEL FOODS - Proposed European Council Regulation on Labelling of GM Soya and Maize
MAFF/DoH Letter, 20 March 1998
Proposed European Council Regulation on Labelling of GM Soya and Maize
The Commission formally transmitted its proposed Regulation on the labelling of genetically modified (GM) soya and maize to the Council on 26 February [See previous item, March 1998]. The Council now has 3 months (until 26 May) in which to consider it.
In view of the lack of support for the measures as currently drafted, the UK Presidency has suggested the following amendments for the Commission’s consideration. These have attracted a large measure of support from other Member States:
- deletion of references to ‘may contain’;
- clarifying the fact that labelling is not required for foods in which neither novel protein or DNA are present;
- the identification of a list of ingredients which do not contain genetically modified material;
- consideration of a threshold in order to avoid labelling triggered by adventitious contamination;
- simplification of the label format for ingredients already listed as produced from soya or maize e.g. soya* flour (*genetically modified);
- the introduction of a more realistic implication (implementation?) date.
The Commission has been urged to reflect on these but has not so far given any indication that it is willing to amend its proposal. Discussion are however continuing in the hope of finding an acceptable solution to this issue.
The Council has until 26 May to act by either accepting by qualified majority the Commission proposal as it stands, or any amendments put forward by the Commission, or by agreeing amending proposals of its own by unanimity. If the Council is unable to do any of these things in the time available it will be deemed to have failed to act, in which case the Commission can then implement its proposals without further delay.
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