Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA News Item, 18 November 2002

LABELLING / GM FOOD - FSA Brussels Board Meeting update

The Food Standards Agency held an open Board meeting on 14 November 2002 at the Management Centre Europe, in Brussels. It considered an action plan on food labelling, GM labelling, and consumer involvement in policy making.

Action Plan on Food Labelling

At a previous meeting in September 2000, the Agency's Board agreed an 18 point Action Plan on Food Labelling. Its two key themes were the development of a transparent labelling regime based on consumers' priorities and promotion of good labelling practice. The Board also identified four priority areas for action: label clarity, use of terms such as 'fresh' and 'pure', nutritional labelling and promotion of foods to children.

The Brussels Board meeting considered progress, and heard that recent key achievements were:
significant steps towards improved ingredient labelling and tighter statutory controls on health related claims, and
publication of Agency guidance on use of terms such as 'fresh', 'natural,' and 'pure', clear labelling, and country of origin declarations.

The Board:

GM labelling

The Board reviewed its position on the labelling of genetically modified food and feeds in light of developments in European Commission working group meetings and the outcome of a Food Standards Agency stakeholder meeting held on 23 September 2002.

In September 2001, the Agency's Board considered proposals on traceability and labelling of GMOs and GM food and feed published by the European Commission on 25 July 2001.

The Board concluded then that the proposals would not ensure consumers would have real choices about GM and meaningful information on the extent to which GM technology is used in food production.

At a subsequent meeting in September 2002, the Board was updated on the progress in EU Council working group meetings and the outcome of the European Parliament's first reading on the GM proposals.

On 23 September 2002, the Agency also hosted a meeting with stakeholders to discuss progress on the GM proposals.

The Board meeting in Brussels on 14 November 2002 noted that since the Board reached its initial position on GM labelling in September 2001, there had been no further clarification from the commission as to how its proposals would work in practice.

The Board:

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