GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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GMO Labeling Leaves Consumers Still In The Dark



GMO Labeling Leaves Consumers Still In The Dark:  Greenpeace


BRUSSELS, April 2 1997 - Labelling regulations announced by the
European Commission today will continue to leave consumers in
the dark about whether food products contain genetically altered
organisms by not requiring segregation from natural grains.

Greenpeace spokesperson Isabelle Mister said the Commission had
failed to require any labelling at all for the controversial
genetically modified soya bean and maize. Soya beans are used in
60 per cent of processed food products in supermarkets including
pasta, chocolate and ice-cream.

The commission also failed to require the segregation of
genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as soya beans and
corn from natural grains. "Therefore these labelling regulations
will only tell consumers a product may contain genetically
altered organisms," she said.

"The Commission through these regulations is effectively denying
consumers the choice they are demanding : to avoid genetically
altered food products," Meister said.

The European Commission announced the adoption of a proposal for
labelling of food products which "may contain or may consist of
genetically modified organisms" (GMO's).

Genetically altered soya beans formed less than two per cent of
the 1996 soya bean harvest in the United States, which is the
largest exporter into Europe, but are not segregated from the
natural soya beans. The Commission proposal does not requrie
segegration of US imports of soya beans nor does it require
labelling of food products made from GMO soya beans.

"Until the Commission requires the segregation of natural grains
and organic material from the genetically altered material
consumers will not have choice about what they eat," Meister
said.

The Commission in its announcement acknowledged that the public
demand the full application of the precautionary principle to
genetically modified products yet the commission has failed to
implement this approach by approving GMO soya beans and maize
and oil seed rape.

CONTACTS:  ISABELLE MEISTER mobile 31-6534 17947 or 32-2-2801400