Guidance Notes on the requirements of the legislation for the approval of novel foods and novel food ingredients, and on the labelling of foods containing genetically modified soya and maize, are published today.
Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker said:
"I am pleased to announce the publication of these Guidance Notes. They provide clear guidance to businesses on the requirements of the legislation and should assist local authorities in enforcing these rules. Local authorities have received enough copies of the Guidance Notes on the labelling of foods containing GM soya and maize for all food businesses in their area."
The draft Guidance Notes were issued for comment on 26 May. A copy of the final version will be sent to all those originally consulted and may also be found on the MAFF Website.
The Guidance Notes (Labelling of foods containing genetically modified soya and maize - PB 4447 and Novel Foods and Novel Food Ingredients - PB 4520) are available free of charge from MAFF Publications, Admail 6000, London, SW1A 2XX. The Guidance can also be found on the Internet at http//:www.maff.gov.uk/food/novel/
The EC Regulation 258/97 on Novel Foods and Novel Food Ingredients came into force on 15 May 1997. GB legislation in support of this Regulation came into force on 16 June 1997. The EC Regulation 1139/98, containing detailed rules on the labelling of GM soya and maize, came into force on 1 September 1998. GB legislation in support of this Regulation came into force on 19 March 1999. EC Regulation 1139/98 makes provisions for the introduction of a de minimis threshold for the presence of DNA or protein from GM sources as a result of unavoidable adventitious contamination and the formulation of a negative list of products that would not require labelling (ie those not containing novel protein and DNA).
The Minister of State issued statements about GM foods on 18 and 19 March (News Releases 95/99 and 99/99 respectively) concerning the enforcement powers for labelling rules, on 2 March (News Release 74/99) responding to the Which? report on GM foods and on 17 February (News Release 55/99) reiterating the Government's commitment to ensuring the safety of food and consumer choice. The proposal to extend labelling requirements for GM soya and maize to catering establishments was announced on 29 July 1998 (News Release 315/98).