foe europe, brussels
3 july 2002
EURO MPs BACK GMO FOOD LABELS
The European Parliament today voted for
the full labelling and traceability of
genetically modified (GMO) foods and animal
feeds. The vote paves the way for new
legislation to give consumers and farmers the
ability to avoid GMOs if they choose.
Today's vote by Euro MPs is a major defeat
for the biotech industry and US government
who have fought to weaken proposals to ensure
that food products derived from GMO crops are
properly labelled. A Eurobarometer survey in
December showed that 94% of the public want
the right to choose whether to eat GM
The proposals will now go to the Council
of Ministers for approval. A further two
votes are likely to be needed by the European
Parliament over the coming year before the
proposals would become law.
Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth
"Today's vote is a major success for
European consumers and a serious defeat for
the biotech industry who have lobbied so hard
to water down these proposals. The public
should have the right to avoid GMO foods if
they don't want to eat them. By backing this
comprehensive labelling scheme European MPs
have paved the way for them to have that
The European Parliament has voted
1. full traceability and labelling of
foods derived from gm crops
It is estimated that 30,000 products can
contain GMO-soya and GMO-maize derived
ingredients such as vegetable oil or maize
syrup. Under current EU law only a small
minority of these products (restricted to the
ones in which GMO DNA or protein is
detectable) have to be labelled.
2. labelling of gmo animal feeds
Euro MPs have voted for GMO animal feeds to
be labelled. At present they are not.
3. no contamination by unapproved
The Commission had earlier proposed that
GMOs that have not been yet approved in the
EU should be allowed into human and animal
food up to a level of 1%. The Parliament has
now rejected this proposal.
4. a threshold of contamination
The Parliament voted that foods or feeds
that are contaminated with GMOs up to 0.5 %
would not have to be labelled. FOE believes
that contamination is unacceptable and that
any threshold should be as good as the
testing technology which is currently 0.1%.
Many retailers can detect GMOs down to 0.01%.
The Commission had proposed a 1%
5. no to a 'gmo-free' label
The biotech industry was pushing for a
GMO-Free label. This would increase the cost
of GMO-free food making consumers pay more
for something they've always previously had.
This was not supported by the Parliament.
What the Parliament didn't vote for
MEPs rejected the labelling of animal
products from animals fed GMO feeds eg milk,
meat and eggs by 3 votes. FOE will continue
to press for these products to be
Name Adrian Bebb Tel 00 44 113 389 9952
Mobile 00 44 771 2843211
Name Geert Ritsema (in Strasbourg) Mobile 00
31 6 290 05 908