GENTECH archive 8.96-97


EU Commission "Experts" Call for Gene-Food Labeling

BRUSSELS, April 17 (Reuter) - European Union food experts supported a
proposal to label genetically modified products already cleared for sale but
delayed a decision until June, a Commission spokesman said on Thursday. 

Gene-modified soybeans developed by Monsanto Co <MTC.N> and a maize strain
developed by Ciba Geigy's <CIGZn.S> corn business, now owned by Novartis AG
<NOVZn.S>, which were approved by the EU last year, would be affected. 

The spokesman said the EU's Standing Committee on Foodstuffs, composed of
experts from the 15 member states, backed the proposal to extend new food
labelling rules coming into force on May 15 to all food containing GMOs
(genetically modified organisms). 

"There was a positive opinion. A vote will be taken at the next meeting in
early June," Jochen Kubosch, a spokesman for the Commission's industry
directorate, told a news briefing. 

The proposal stated that labelling rules, aimed at protecting consumer health
and ensuring fair competition in the EU single market, should apply to all
gene-modified food. 

The foodstuffs panel is one of eight scientific committees advising Emma
Bonino, who was appointed food safety commissioner early this year following
the public health scare over mad cow disease. 

Brussels Bureau +322 287 6830 

12:16 04-17-97