GENET archive


6-Regulations: GE food labelling in UAE and Saudi Arabia

genet-news mailing list

                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Call for GM labels on food
SOURCE: Gulf News, UAE, by Barbara Bibbo
DATE:   Mar 31, 2003

------------------ archive: ------------------

Call for GM labels on food

Abu Dhabi - Consumers in the UAE are calling for the enforcement of a new
law to label genetically modified (GM) food, following the example of
other countries.

They believe that this will protect their right to decide whether to buy
the GM food, and enhance their confidence in local traders.

"Citizens in the European Union, Japan, Australia and many other
countries have the right to know if the food they buy has been
genetically engineered. We should have the same right here," said Dr
Hassan Al Khtheiri, Chairman of the Emirates Society for Consumer Protection.

According to Dr Al Khtheiri, the local authorities are still studying the
new consumer law, which when issued will be the first law to protect the
rights of consumers in the UAE.

Although the law will not directly deal with GM food, it is expected to
recognise the rights of consumers. This will automatically introduce GM

"We hope this law will soon be issued. It will be a first step in
protecting the consumers and create awareness about this problem."

He added the law will not only protect consumers but also help trade to
become more transparent and increase consumer confidence.

"It will represent a balance between the consumers and traders, give our
trade more credibility and transparency and help us catch up with the
international standards."

The appearance of GM food in the market has resulted in public debate and
scientific discussion in the UAE, since it involves ecological and health
concerns in addition to ethical and religious issues.

But scientists are still debating whether GM food affects human health or not.

On one hand they offer a way to quickly improve crop characteristics such
as yield, pest resistance or herbicide tolerance, and crops can be
manipulated to produce completely artificial substances.

At the same time they give rise to the possibility of unanticipated
allergic responses to novel substances in foods, the spread of pest
resistance or herbicide tolerance to wild plants, and inadvertent
toxicity to benign wildlife.

Since the topic is still very controversial, consumer protection
societies believe that labelling at least will give consumers some choice.

"The matter is still being debated. This is why we say that at least the
food should be labelled. There are, for example, vegetarians or religious
people who want to know what they are buying."

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Saudi genetically modified agricultural products to be labeled
SOURCE: Al Bawaba, Jordan/UAE/UK
DATE:   Mar 30, 2003

------------------ archive: ------------------

Saudi genetically modified agricultural products to be labeled

The Ministry of Agriculture has issued new regulations pertaining to the
entry of genetically modified agricultural products into the Kingdom. The
new system includes a number of conditions, including tagging
agricultural products such as fruit, fresh vegetables, dates, barley,
corn, millet and fig seedlings. The system stipulates that the tags
should be written clearly in Arabic as well as English. In addition, the
genetically modified products should have official certificates attached
to them, which confirm that the products are licensed and permissible for
consumption in the producer countries in addition to conforming to Saudi
standards. -- (