Ministers have made clear their intention that all foods containing genetically modified (GM) material should be clearly labelled to facilitate informed choices about foods people buy. Indeed the UK was instrumental in securing agreement last year on EU-wide labelling rules for GM soya and maize ingredients. These rules are seen as setting the precedent for the labelling of all GM foods that may in future be approved under the EC novel foods regulation. Recent amendments to the UK Food Labelling Regulations will apply these rules to UK catering establishments from 19 September.
When the UK Food Labelling Amendment Regulations were introduced Mr Rooker made it clear that the UK was pressing for the early publication of further EC proposals in this area including de-minimis thresholds and proposals for the labelling of food additives containing GM material.
The Commission has now issued a working paper on a proposed Commission Regulation on the labelling of foods containing GM food additives and flavourings. It is intended that this will be issued as a formal proposal in September once it has been endorsed by the new College of Commissioners with the aim of reaching agreement on it at the October meeting of the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs.
The Commission has also indicated, subject to agreement by the new Commissions, that it also intends to issue proposals in September on a negative list, a de-minimis threshold and rules for GM free labelling.