Food Law News - EU - 1999

22 October 1999: GM FOODS - GM Labelling

JFSSG Letter, 22 October 1999

GM Labelling

Copies of European Commission proposals on de minimis levels for the adventitious contamination of non GM soya and maize with GM materials and the labelling of GM additives had previously been circulated. This letter provides details of the discussions which took place in Brussels.

A few, mostly small, changes were made to both proposals as shown in the attachments to this letter, following which both were agreed by qualified majority voting. Each proposal will now enter into force 90 days after publication in the Official Journal.

The UK pressed very hard for the de minimis 1% threshold figure to be reviewed within a two year period and for this to be included in the European Regulation. Although this move was unsuccessful, the Commission has agreed to provide a declaration to accompany the Regulation to address this point. A formal UK statement on this issue was also submitted, a copy of which is provided below.

The necessary amendment legislation to bring the changes into effect will be drafted and circulated for comment as soon as possible and updates to the various guidance notes on GM food labelling will be circulated for comment at the same time.

UK Statement on The Need For a Review

The proposal requires operators to keep the levels of adventitious contamination as low as possible and sets a legal limit of 1%.

The UK attaches considerable importance to keeping the threshold at the lowest level possible which is both feasibly detectable and practically deliverable.

The UK therefore considers it essential that the threshold level is reviewed within two years in the expectation that significant improvements will have been made in analytical methods and the supply situation by then to enable it to be reduced considerably.

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