SnowBall archive


GE - proof that Jeff Rooker truly is insane!

FOCUS-UK waiters must know if foods contain GMOs@ (recasts, 
adds Jeff Rooker news conference)
March 19, 1999

LONDON, Reuters [WS] via NewsEdge Corporation : British waiters will have 
to be able to tell diners 
whether their food contains genetically modified soya or maize, under new 
rules announced on 
Thursday by food safety minister Jeff Rooker.
And if they cannot, their employers in any of some 125,000 catering 
establishments of various types, 
from hot-dog stands to the most expensive restaurant in Britain, face fines 
of up to 5,000 pounds, 
Rooker said.
The same fine is imposed on food shops if they fail to label according to 
the EU rules.
``We don't think it's impractical,'' Rooker told a news conference at the 
ministry of agriculture. ``If a 
customer wants to ask if any ingredients have been genetically modified 
then they ought to be able 
to answer,'' he said.
A European Union law requiring the labelling of foods containing GM soya 
and maize has been in 
place since September last year. The British government was moving to 
enforce the EU requirement 
through British law, but at the same time extending it to catering premises.
The government had decided that in the interests of consumer choice there 
should be labels on 
these foods in restaurants. But after consultation it had been decided that 
full labelling would require 
too much ``gold-plating,'' the usual term for a national government 
extending the working of an EU 
``We don't want to put a burden on the catering industry, but we've already 
got a system in catering 
for nut-allergies,'' Rooker said.
A notice in the restaurant would invite people to ask the staff about GM 
ingredients. This process 
would save reprinting menus according to where ingredients had been sourced.
Although the new fines for failing to follow the EU's labelling regulation 
would come in from Friday, 
the parts involving the catering trade would be phased in over six months.
There had to be what Rooker called a 'de minimis,' rule to give a very 
small percentage of GM 
material which could be present before it had to be specified.
The crops involved are Roundup Ready soya developed by Monsanto (MTC.N) and 
a maize 
developed by Novartis (NOVZn.S). Rooker stressed that they are not grown in 
Britain. ``We're not 
producing any GM food in this country...,'' he said. But field-scale trials 
of GM crops were about to 
British food retailers, supermarkets in particular, have been quick to 
acknowledge public alarm about 
GM food, many going further than the government's new rules require.
J. Sainsbury Plc (SBRY.L) said on Wednesday it had set up a consortium of 
European supermarkets 
to ensure no genetically altered ingredients make it into their own-label 
Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) said it would stop selling genetically modified 
food in the coming months 
and ASDA Group Plc (ASSD.L) has said it wants its own-label range of 
products to be free of 
modified ingredients.
Safeway (SFW.L) is working to substitute GM products with conventional ones 
and Tesco (TSCO.L) 
said it will clearly label GM products. ((London Newsroom +44 171 542 7928 
fax +44 171 542 8077,
[Copyright 1999, Reuters]