Tighter rules on traceability for GMO products (Environment Committee first-reading report adopted)

June 6, 2002

Brussels, 05 June 2002

A majority in the Environment Committee is demanding more stringent rules on labelling and traceability for food and feed products derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In a codecision (first reading) report, the committee broadly welcomed the objectives of the Commission proposal on traceability of GMOs and food and feed produced from GMOs. Traceability means the ability to track GMOs and GMO products throughout the production and distribution chains, thus facilitating quality control and enabling products to be withdrawn if necessary. However, many Members felt the proposal did not go far enough and therefore called for even stricter rules.

The committee voted for an amendment saying that, when placing GMO products on the market, operators must ensure that either the words 'This product is derived from an animal fed with GM feed' or 'This products contains [name of the ingredient] derived from an animal fed with GM feed' appear on the label or in any advertising for the product.

Further amendments call for effective measures to combat the uncontrolled spread of GMO products in order to prevent the accidental presence of GMOs in food or feed and for the regulation to provide a framework for traceability in accordance with the precautionary principle. Another amendment demands that, in order to ensure the traceability of animal products derived from animals fed with GM feed, the animals themselves should be traceable too. Given that health or other problems may take time to become evident, a period of ten years (rather than five) was regarded as necessary to ensure that operators' records are properly maintained.

Finally, MEPs stress that human health and the environment must always take priority over the internal market or any other commercial consideration.

At the final vote, 28 Members were in favour and 25 against with 2 abstentions, with rapporteur Antonios TRAKATELLIS (EPP-ED, GR) and his political group voting against. Mr Trakatellis argued that the adopted amendments on traceability and labelling, which were supported by the Socialists, Greens and some Liberals, would prove 'inapplicable in real life'.

This report is scheduled for debate at the July session in Strasbourg.

04.06.2002 Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection       In the chair: Caroline JACKSON (EPP-ED, UK)

Press enquiries:Ton Huyssoon - tel. (32-2) 28 42408e-mail: Envi-press@europarl.eu.int

European Parliament News Report 2002-06-05

http://www.europarl.eu.int/home/default _en.htm

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