Commission's decision disapproving Cyprus's law to segregate GM food from non-GM food on supermarket shelves (OJ link)

March 31, 2006

Brussels, 30 March 2006

Commission Decision of 14 March 2006 concerning national provisions imposing on supermarkets an obligation to place genetically modified foods on separate shelves from non-genetically modified foods, notified by Cyprus pursuant to Article 95(5) of the EC Treaty (notified under document number C(2006) 797) (OJ L92/12 30.3.2006).
Full text

[...] III. LEGAL ASSESSMENT

(12) The derogation procedure provided for in Article 95(5) of the Treaty is intended only for the adoption of national provisions designed to achieve the objectives listed. A notification from a Member State which does not refer to one of these objectives must therefore be declared inadmissible under that provision of the Treaty.

(13) Under the legislative bill in question, supermarkets would be under an obligation to place genetically modified foods in a specially designated place on separate shelves from non-genetically modified goods. In the explanatory memorandum accompanying the bill, the Cypriot authorities considered that the content of the bill could conflict with the provisions on labelling in Regulations (EC) No 1829/2003 and (EC) No 1830/2003. They also indicated clearly that the purpose of the measure was to enable consumers to distinguish more easily between genetically modified and other foods, thereby allowing them to make an informed choice.

(14) The notification from Cyprus does not make any reference to either of the objectives mentioned in Article 95(5) of the EC Treaty. Under those circumstances, the Commission is not in a position to carry out the verification referred to in paragraph 6 of that Article. The Commission does not take a view on the matter if the notification concerns an area which has been harmonised under Community legislation, nor does it take a view on the compliance of the measure with Community law or the rules of the WTO.

IV. CONCLUSION

(15) The Commission therefore considers that the notification provided by the Cypriot authorities does not contain the information which would allow the measure to be examined under Article 95(5) and (6) of the EC Treaty. The Commission therefore takes the view that the notification is not admissible.

(16) In the light of the above considerations, and without prejudice to any subsequent examination by the Commission of the compatibility of the national measures notified with Community law, the Commission is of the opinion that the notification from the Republic of Cyprus concerning an obligation on supermarkets to place genetically modified foods in a specially designated place on separate shelves from non-genetically modified goods, as submitted on 15 September 2005 with reference to Article 95(5) of the Treaty, is not admissible,

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1
The notification concerning a legislative bill seeking to impose on supermarkets an obligation to place genetically modified foods in a place specially designated for them on separate shelves from non-genetically modified goods, submitted by the Republic of Cyprus on 15 September 2005 on the basis of Article 95(5) of the EC Treaty, is declared non-admissible.

Article 2
This decision is addressed to the Republic of Cyprus.

Official Journal of the EU, No. L92/12 30.3.2006

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