EP 2nd Reading on GM Food and Feed and Traceability and Labelling Setting a “labelling” threshold for EU approved GM material in food

01.06.2003

EP 2nd Reading on GM Food and Feed and Traceability and Labelling Setting a “labelling” threshold for EU approved GM material in food 

• Council’s Common Position now before the European Parliament proposes a 0.9% labelling threshold that would set in place the lowest GM labelling threshold in the world1. Other countries have established higher labelling thresholds, taking into account the importance of providing consumer information on the one hand and the associated costs and practicability on the other.

• The proposed 0.9% GM labelling threshold will provide consumers with information that enables them to choose to purchase, or to avoid, foods produced using genetic modification. This labelling is not a safety warning.

• European consumers accept thresholds considerably higher than 0.9% in some specially labelled foods. For instance, in specified cases “organic” food labelling standards permit conventional ingredients to be used at up to 5%, with no specific mention of this on the product label that retains an “organic” label.

• The European Scientific Committee for Plants2 determined that seed thresholds of 0.3% to 0.7% are only achievable under ideal seed growing conditions. Thresholds for the labelling of processed foods and feeds cannot be lower than the thresholds achievable for seeds.

• In a vote in May 2003, The Environment Committee of the European Parliament adopted a Green Group amendment that would lower the labelling threshold to 0.5%. Setting the labelling threshold at this level will prevent the use of innovative and beneficial biotechnology in food production in Europe.