Moratorium on GMOS

Published: Saturday 31 July 1999

Activists demostrating against european union ( eu ) environment ministers moved closer to a moratorium on entry of new genetically modified organisms ( gmo s) in the market, at least until new rules can be agreed on to reassure consumers of their safety. "Until new rules are in place, we do not want any new products to be released," German environment minister Juergen Trittin told a press conference. "It will be a de facto moratorium, though legally-speaking we cannot call it that", he said. Ministers met in Luxembourg with the aim of agreeing on revised rules for approving new gmo s amid growing public concern about the safety of gene technology following a number of food scares.

Environmental pressure group Greenpeace immediately welcomed the move towards a moratorium. " gmo s are an environmental threat and an unjustified experiment with food," it said in a statement, adding it hoped the temporary halt to approvals was a step to a "consistent ban".

The Commission, the eu 's executive, has proposed changes to the process by which new gmo s are authorised to tighten safety checks and ensure more transparency in the decision-making process.

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