Food Law News - UK - 2000

7 January 2000: GM FOODS - Food Labelling

JFSSG Letter, 7 January 2000

GM Food Labelling

In accordance with Section 48(4) of the Food Safety Act 1990 the letter seeks comments on a draft Statutory Instrument. It is intended that this will provide for the enforcement (in England) of European Commission proposals on GM labelling, on which views were sought on 1 October. The letter enclosed the most recent texts of the proposals. These take account of the minor changes which were made when the proposals were agreed at the meeting of the Standing Committee for Foods on 21 October 1999. The Commission proposals will require the labelling of foods containing GM additives and flavourings, and revise EC Regulation 1139/98, by setting a 1% threshold for the adventitious contamination of non-GM produce and extending the requirements of the Regulation to food which is to be delivered as such to mass caterers.

At the time of writing the letter, the EC Regulations had not been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJ) but we understand that they are likely to be adopted by the Commission on 10 January and published in the OJ shortly afterwards. [Note: the Regulations have now been published - see the EU News Pages 11 January 2000]. However, as they will come into force only 90 days after publication, we are taking the opportunity to consult on the draft Statutory Instrument in advance of publication in the OJ. We will, of course, let you know when the Regulations have been published. Should the texts published in the OJ differ from the agreed texts, it may be necessary to make changes to the draft Statutory Instrument. If any substantive changes to the SI are required, interested parties will again be consulted.

In addition to making provision for the enforcement of these proposals, the draft Statutory Instrument also makes continued provision for the enforcement of EC Regulation 1139/98 and the labelling provisions of the EC Novel Foods Regulation (258/97). In doing this, the JFSSG have brought together all the requirements relating to GM and novel food labelling into the one piece of legislation.

Also enclosed for comment were Guidance Notes explaining the requirements of the legislation. The draft is a revision to the Guidance Notes currently available on the labelling of food containing GM soya and maize (PB 4447), which will be updated to take account of the newly agreed proposals. In addition, a draft Regulatory Impact Assessment was enclosed for comment and for details of the compliance costs to be provided. This covers solely the requirements of the new EC Regulations and the Statutory Instrument - assessments were produced in the past in respect of EC Regulation 1139/98 and the Novel Foods Regulation 258/97.

Comments are required by 1 March 2000.

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