A question of labelling

Published: Tuesday 30 November 1999

the European Union (eu) has supported the compulsory labelling of genetically-modified (gm) ingredients that contain even more than one per cent of gm organisms. But experts feel that the move does not allay the consumers' fear of gm food.

The move was also sharply criticised by environmental campaigners, who say that even one per cent is too high. They added that even food products that have below one per cent gm contents should be labelled.

"This is a major disappointment for us. This decision will not satisfy consumers all over Europe," said Joanna Dober, spokesperson for the eu consumer lobby. "We would have preferred a two per cent threshold," said Dominique Taeymans, director at eu food industry lobby.

The eu has not approved any new gm crops since April 1998, amid growing consumer fear about the safety of such foods. The commission believes that clear labelling will help in allaying some of these fears. In the wake of this controversy, the eu has decided to define what exactly gm food means.

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