GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Swiss G-E Food Labeling

      BERNE, Switzerland (Reuter) - The Swiss cabinet agreed Wednesday to
give companies more time to put special labels on food containing
genetically-altered soybeans, which can go on sale in Switzerland as of Feb.

    As an interim measure, the Federal Council decide to let advisories
appear instead on signs or placards displayed on shop shelves near the
products. New special labels will be required as of Dec. 31, the Interior
Ministry said. 

    The signs will identify the foods as ``GVO products,'' using the German
acronym for ``genetically altered organism.'' 

    The move is designed to give foreign suppliers time to inform themselves
about the labelling requirements, first adopted last month when Switzerland
approved such products over the objection of environmentalist activists. 

    ``The interim rules allow consumers to be informed comprehensively on the
one hand without on the other hand forcing existing packaging material to be
destroyed,'' the ministry said. 

    Activists say the products are a dangerous experiment with nature that
could pose a risk to human health even though health authorities in several
countries have approved them. 

    The new soybeans were developed by U.S. chemicals giant Monsanto Co to be
resistant to its own weedkiller Roundup. 

    Some Swiss stores have refused to stock the new kind of foods, saying
consumers do not want them. REUTER 

14:11 01-15-97