Report on the proposed regulation concerning traceability and labelling and traceability of genetically modified organisms

June 21, 2002

Brussels, 20 June 2002

FINAL A5-0229/2002 12 June 2002
REPORT on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation concerning traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms and traceability of food and feed products produced from genetically modified organisms and amending Directive 2001/18/EC
Full text

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Your rapporteur differentiates between the following three categories of products in the amendments to the regulation:

First category: GMOs and GMO products which are checked using analytical methods. This category includes products such as maize, soya, maize meal, soya meal and primary products in general in which GMO material is easily traced.

Second category: this category includes the conventional products corresponding to the first category which have been contaminated adventitiously or unavoidably through mixing with genetically modified material. In this case, in order to exempt them from the traceability and labelling requirements, certain conditions should apply together with a maximum level of GMO material. The following three conditions are proposed:

(a) The presence of GMO materials from one or more GMOs does not exceed 1% or the maximum permissible levels established in accordance with the procedures laid down in Directive

2001/18/EC . Your rapporteur has no problem with low levels but if we are to be rational and prudent, we must consider in detail what, in maximum terms, an adventitious or unavoidable admixture might amount to.

(b) The presence of these GMO materials is adventitious and technically unavoidable. Companies should be able to prove to the authorities that they have taken the necessary measures to avoid the presence of GMOs or GMO material.

(c) The specific GMO or, in the case of more than one GMO, the specific types, must have been subject to a risk assessment by the relevant scientific authority (authorities) or by the European Food Safety Authority as a basis for authorisation and must not pose a risk to human health or the environment.

Third category: products produced from GMOs but not containing GMO material such as vitamin C, citric acid, maize oil etc. For this category there should be no traceability and labelling requirement.

Your rapporteur's proposals are based on the above logical considerations. They also allow the EU to implement them unilaterally without creating barriers to trade and distortion of competition, and at the same time provide consumers with reliable information. In this respect, I would draw attention to the fact that the screening techniques are now so sensitive and reliable that in the event that a product does not test positive for GMO material, we can be fully confident in the results and not subject that product to the labelling requirement.

That would be inconsistent when present legislation (see Regulation 49/2000/EC which exempts from labelling products produced from GM soya beans and GM maize) and the proposed regulation exempt from the traceability and labelling requirements products which have been contaminated adventitiously or unavoidably through mixing with genetically modified material, while the regulation imposes the traceability and labelling requirements on products which do not contain genetically modified material.

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Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy - Rapporteur: Antonios Trakatellis

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