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GM-labelling: EU against expansion


(19 July 2010) The labelling of genetically modified (GM) food products in Europe will not be changed. An attempt by the federal government of Germany has failed in Brussels to effect legally-binding labelling requirements for further applications of genetic engineering.

Minister for Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Ilse Aigner (CSU), stated in German media, "We tried to achieve ‘positive labelling’ in Europe, unfortunately without success. This found support neither from the EU Commission nor from the other Member States."

Therefore, gaps in the currently valid labelling of genetically engineered products remain unclosed for the moment. As previously the case, the feeding of livestock with GM crops does not lead to compulsory labelling of the resulting food products such as milk, meat or eggs. Additives, vitamins or enzymes that are manufactured with the aid of GM microorganisms also remain exempt from such labelling.

The federal government, as well as the German famers’ association and leading representatives of the food industry, had agitated recently for ‘positive labelling’. This concept prescribes appropriate indications on labels for all products for which GMOs are used in the manufacture.

Minister Aigner stated further that the federal government now plans to rely on voluntary solutions such as the ‘GM-free’ label. Since 2008, food manufacturers may declare milk, meat or eggs as ‘GM-free’, provided that the supplying animal has received no feed from GM crops during a specific time period. Such labelling is intended to allow consumers to consider this aspect when making a purchase decision.

Feed additives such as vitamins, amino acids or enzymes remain unaffected by this system. They may be utilised for ‘GM-free’ products even in the case of having been produced by GMOs.

 

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