GE - proof that Jeff Rooker truly is insane!
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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,
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
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
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
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]