Brussels, 14 Jan 2003
Members of EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, met on 13 January 2003 with EU Commissioners for Environment, Agriculture and Health, Margot Wallström, Franz Fischler and David Byrne respectively, to discuss the ongoing de facto moratorium on genetically modified (GM) products and by-products.
The de facto moratorium on GM products in Europe has been imposed since 1999 as a precautionary measure towards marketing GM products.
During the meeting, Europabio members reiterated its concerns about continuing to impose such tight constraints on GM goods, calling for the need to strike a balance between the interests of the environment and, consumers, industry and authorities.
The Commissioners indicated that new legislative initiatives for labelling and traceability of GM products, as well as regulation measures on GM foods for human and animal consumption would, they hope, pave the way for the lifting of the de facto moratorium and allow Member States to authorise marketing for GM products again.
However, according to the Commissioners, in order to introduce such regulatory measures, Member States who have opposed GM products need to review their position. The Commissioners also called on enterprises to make more efforts in informing the public about GM products as well as revising previous GMO marketing requests with a view to disseminating them to national governments.
It is hoped that the outcome of the paper will help in developing a common position among the Member States on GM labelling and traceability. The European Parliament's second reading of these papers is expected in late summer 2003.
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