MEPs Back GM Report

Article excerpt

THE European Union's Environment Committee has adopted a first- reading report by German MEP, Karin Scheele, on the authorisation and labelling of genetically modified food and feed, with a majority of its members backing the view that the Commission's proposed regulation needs be toughened up.

The Commission proposal provides for a threshold above which food or feed accidentally contaminated with non-authorised GMOs must be labelled. However, the committee voted against establishing any threshold for non- authorised GMOs, as this would undermine EU legislation on biosafety.

For accidental contamination with authorised GMOs, the committee adopted an amendment reducing the proposed threshold from one per cent to 0.5 per cent.

MEPs were also against any revision of the current directive 2001/18/EC after the complicated conciliation procedure that took place last year. It was felt that this new regulation should complement it instead.

Lastly, amendments were adopted on the public's right to information and on the participation of national and local authorities in the authorisation procedure.

This draft report, as amended, was adopted by only a small majority, with 28 MEPs in favour, 22 against and two abstentions.

It is scheduled for plenary debate under the codecision procedure at the July plenary session in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom Government has welcomed the advice from the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC) that it should encourage public discussion and examination of GM issues - including GM crops.

Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, said the Government considered that there should be a full and informed debate.

The Government would later need to take decisions on the possible commercialization of GM crops. …