ESC Opinion on · Genetically-modified food and feed adopted during 29/30 May plenary

June 17, 2002

Brussels, 14 June 2002

· Genetically-modified food and feed

Rapporteur: Ms Thomas (Various interests - UK)
- Reference: COM(2001) 425 final - 2001/0173 COD - CES 694/2002

- Key points:

The Committee broadly welcomes the initiative introduced by the Commission to clarify and extend the current regulatory framework. The proposal is concerned with authorisation for use and consumption and with labelling of products which will have already been rigorously evaluated for health and environmental risks. The new regulations will enhance transparency by promoting the labelling of GM foodstuffs in the food chain and will promote consumer choice.

The extension of regulatory controls to animal feed is particularly welcomed. However, in Europe, where there is a moratorium on authorisation for the placing on the market of new GMOs, the majority of citizens wish to avoid GM food.

The EESC considers that the labelling of GM products should be extended to all foods and animal feed that have been produced with GMOs. This extension will enable consumers to be fully aware of the application of genetic engineering throughout the food product chain and enable them to make a more informed choice.

The EESC welcomes the proposal to label food and feed products which have adventitious content of GM materials of 1% or more. It recommends that a set of standards be developed for application to those imported GM products which are approved in their country of origin but not in the EU. The EESC takes the view that products where the proportion of GMOs has not exceeded 1% throughout the production chain will in future be regarded by many consumers as being "quality products", on a par with certain regional products, free-range eggs or organic produce, for example.

- Contact: Johannes Kind
(Tel.: 00 32 2 546 9111 - e-mail:

European Economic and Social Committee

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