GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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EP May Require Labeling for GMO Grains



    BRUSSELS, March 13 (Reuter) - The European Commission is considering
mandatory labelling rules for genetically modified grains to allow tracking
of the commodities through all stages of production and processing, officials
said on Thursday. 

    The draft plans, put forward by European Environment Commissioner Ritt
Bjerregaard, would require indentification of commodities such as maize and
soybeans sold as seeds through their sowing, harvesting, crushing and onward
sale for use in food and animal feed. 

    The fast-track rules could come into force within weeks depending on
progress with their approval through both the European Commission and then a
committee of EU countries' scientific experts. 

    Bjerregaard proposed the rules to last week's inaugural meeting of the
Commission's food safety advisory group, set up in the aftermath of EU food
scares about beef infected with the "mad-cow," brain-wasting disease and
consumer concern about the safety of eating gene-altered foods such as the
maize sold by Ciba <CIGZn.S>Geigy and Monsanto <MTC.N>'s gene-modified
soybeans. 

    Officials said the draft rules' adoption in Commission were by no means
guaranteed, with Martin Bangemann and Sir Leon Brittan, Commissioners for
industry and trade respectively, both said to be strongly against the plan. 

17:27 03-13-97