The new regulations will extend current labelling requirements for GM soya and maize to the suppliers of caterers and restaurants, making it easier for them to give customers accurate information about GM content in any food they serve. The legislation will also extend labelling requirements to additives and flavourings containing GM materials.
The regulations also set a level for accidental GM content in food ingredients sourced from non-GM sources. This de-minimis threshold level has been set at 1 per cent for the food ingredient. It will not allow retailers or caterers who are sourcing ingredients from unknown sources to use the threshold level as a way of avoiding labelling their products.
Speaking on the agreement today, Food Minister Helene Hayman said:
" These regulations will help to deliver increased consumer choice and information throughout Europe. I think they are an important step, but more remains to be done. We will still continue to press for clear rules on GM-free labelling and action on labelling for animal feeds containing GM material. The Government believes that a de-minimis threshold level of 1% is reasonable and realistic level at the current time but we want to see the level kept as low as is practically possible. For this reason we will be pressing for this level to be kept under review to take account of future improvements in the supply chain and developments in technology."
EC proposals to extend GM labelling requirements were issued for consultation on 1 October 1999. The proposals agreed at the Standing Committee for foodstuffs will extend current labelling requirements for GM soya and maize to suppliers of caterers and restaurants. The regulations will also set a 1% de-minimis threshold level for GM material in food ingredients sourced from non-GM sources (i.e. it allows for accidental GM content in non-GM sourced food - it will not allow retailers / caterers who are sourcing ingredients from unknown sources to use the threshold level as a way of avoiding labelling their products). New regulations will also extend labelling requirements to GM additives and flavourings. Member States voted on the proposals in the Standing Committee on Foodstuffs on 21 October 1999. Labelling requirements currently cover GM soya and maize. Any new GM foods approved in the future will be subject to the same labelling requirements.