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6-Regulation: Germany's Clement urges EU to import gene foods



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

TITLE:  Germany's Clement urges EU to import gene foods
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   Jul 3, 2003

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Germany's Clement urges EU to import gene foods

BERLIN - Germany's Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement said on Wednesday he
will push for the import of U.S.-developed genetically modified (GM)
foodstuffs despite widespread European opposition to the products.

 In an article written for the ruling Social Democrat party newspaper
"Vorwaerts", Clement said he would "expressly urge the import of
genetically modified products", while calling for a reduction of
obstacles to flourishing trans-atlantic trade.

"However, we also expect the United States to respect decisions by the
World Trade Organisation and to make changes where appropriate, for
example by immediately repealing the U.S. customs' ruling on steel,"
Clement said, making a link to a separate dispute over steel anti-dumping
duties.

Clement's comments came as the European Parliament passed new laws making
the labelling of GM foodstuffs compulsory, a move that could lead to the
end of an unofficial moratorium by EU member states on the sale or
cultivation in the bloc of new GM products, dubbed "Frankenstein foods"
by some critics.

They also come as Germany is seeking to restore its relations with
Washington, which were strained by Berlin's opposition to U.S.-led
military action in Iraq.

The U.S. government has launched a trade suit against the EU over its GM
food policy, which U.S. maize growers alone say is costing them $300
million a year in lost exports.

Calling German-U.S. trade links "a pillar for well-being in Germany and
Europe," Clement said it was incumbent upon the delegates taking part at
the next WTO ministerial conference in Cancun, Mexico "to make decisive
steps forward for free trade."

"This would be made much easier if the instances of trans-atlantic
conflict were effectively reduced," said Clement.


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

TITLE:  New Euro Rules Won't Put GM Foods on Store Shelves
SOURCE: Reuters, by Sharman Esarey
DATE:   Jul 4, 2003

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New Euro Rules Won't Put GM Foods on Store Shelves

LONDON - New European Parliament laws requiring labeling of genetically
modified food may allow the EU to drop an unofficial ban on new crops but
they won't persuade food processors to use it or supermarkets to stock it.

 Many European consumers want no part of what they see as the high-tech
scientific wizardry of gene manipulation designed to boost yields and cut
the use of pesticides. Food suppliers say they will deliver what
consumers want. So rules, shmules?

"Regardless of labeling, we'll stock what people want to buy," said a
spokesman for U.S. based Wal-Mart's UK unit ASDA.

European consumers are still turning up their noses at the fare famously
decried as "Frankenfood" for fear of health or environmental harm, and
many feel the new labels would simply offer them an opportunity to refuse
products they disdain.

"In Europe there is a clear trend among consumers that they want to avoid
the products with GMO labels, so there is clear pressure on producers to
make sure they have no GMO and that they will not have the label," said
an official with Dutch-based Ahold, the world's third largest food retailer.

The laws passed on Wednesday, which also stipulate the segregation of GM
from conventional crops, require the labeling of any foods that contain
more than 0.9 percent of genetically modified ingredients. Labels could
hit store shelves in 2004.

European wariness has infuriated major producers the United States, which
has seen sales to the lucrative market plummet.

The United States has taken the EU to the World Trade Organization over
its five-year de facto ban on new GM crop varieties. On Wednesday, the
United States said the laws were "confusing for the consumer." Canada
said the WTO action it backed would continue.

Swiss food giant Nestle said it does not sell genetically modified
products into countries where customers are opposed to GMOs and the
ruling was unlikely to change this.

"We are not trying to force consumers to accept products that they don't
want. We sell products containing GMOs in countries where they accept
them and we don't sell products with GMO where a consumer does not want
to buy them. It is as simple as that," said Nestle spokesman Marcel Rubin.

A spokeswoman for French food group Danone, maker of biscuits, yogurts
and mineral waters, said: "We follow the regulations and the wishes of
the consumer."

Some stores already stock minor lines in GM food.

Ahold's main store group, Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, stocks some 10
products with GM ingredients out of a lineup of several thousand. They
are largely in the snack food area.

Similarly, Metro, Germany's biggest retailer and the world's fifth
largest, said its group stocks a handful of GM-labeled products out of
its total of more than one million.

"It's absolutely the right direction for customers who will now get clear
signals of whether products are genetically modified or not," a Metro
spokesman said.

(Additional reporting by Elaine Hardcastle in London, Jon Cox in Zurich,
Marcel Michelson in Amsterdam, Caroline Brothers in Paris and Paul
Hoskins in Frankfurt)




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