GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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US Unhappy with BT Corn Labeling in EU



GRAIN FOCUS: EU BT CORN APPROVAL WON'T STOP TRADE COMPLICATIONS

OTC 19.12.96 16:02

Washington-Dec. 19-FWN-- -- THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION'S APPROVAL OF BT CORN
WILL NOT END THE POSSIBILITY ADDITIONAL DISPUTES WILL ARISE ON THE SUBJECT
OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOs) AND LABELING OF PRODUCTS MADE FROM
SUCH PRODUCTS: In the press release announcing the approval of Bt corn's
entry into the European Union (EU), as FWN reported on Wednesday, the
Commission noted that a revision of the directive dealing with labeling was
forthcoming in 1997.

"In this connection the Commission has discussed the question of labeling,"
the Commission said in the statement Wednesday. "The legal basis for the
decision to authorize placing on the market of genetically modified maize is
Directive 90/220."

"According to the interpretation of the Commission, the current provisions
of the Directive do not allow the imposition of labeling to indicate that a
product is genetically modified in the absence of any link to risk
assessment," the release said. "In the Commission's view it will be
essential to solve this issue, in order to take into account the need to
inform consumers. A revision of Directive 90/220 is foreseen in 1997"

U.S. embassy officials in Brussels say that a labeling requirement would
"cause trade complications" for the U.S., especially since such a
requirement would necessitate Bt corn or Roundup Ready soybeans would have
to be separated at the source.

"Once more the Commission has given in to pressure from the genetic
engineering industry and the United States," Louise Gale, a representative
of Greenpeace, said. "Europe is opening the floodgates to widespread
environmental and health hazards." Greenpeace also plans to step up an
active campaign against Bt corn in an effort to get the European food
industry not to use the genetically altered crop or any others in their
manufacturing process.

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