GENTECH archive 8.96-97



HAMBURG, Dec 9 (Reuter) - Some 80 or 90 percent of food products
on sale in the European Union would be unaffected by EU labelling
plans for novel foods containing genetically modified organisms
(GMOs), a press conference heard on Monday. 

"Under the new rules, perhaps only 10 percent of food would need
to be labelled because agronomic, rather than purely nutritional,
properties have been changed," said Dan Leskien of the German
branch of Friends of the Earth. 

Speaking at a joint event by his organisation and environmental
group Greenpeace, he called the November 28 decision on GMO
labelling a "sham, which disenfranchises the consumer." 

The law requires the labelling of food containing "live"
genetically modified cells and that differing from conventional
food beyond "accepted limits of natural variation." 

Leskien said genetically-modified U.S. soya and its derivatives
such as oil, meal and lecithin would not be covered by the
labelling request. 

Producers would be more or less allowed to design their own
labels, they were not liable for damage, and they would be able
to freely export foods containing GMOs outside the EU. 

Greenpeace said it would keep up a campaign against the use of
GMOs in German food production, clearer labelling, and the
segregation of gene-altered U.S. soybeans at origin. 

It said it had collected 340,000 signatures against gene-altered
U.S. soybeans from the 1996/97 crop which its research showed two
thirds of consumers opposed. 

The opponents cite unknown health risks from GMOs. 

The arrival of the first ship certified free of gene soya in
Antwerp last Thursday showed it was possible to keep production
lines separate, Greenpeace said. 

-- Vera Eckert, Hamburg newsroom, +49-40-41903275 


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