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EU parliament to pass biotech food label rules

(Monday, June 30, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Robin Pomeroy, Reuters: via Agnet: BRUSSELS - The European Parliament is, according to this story, due to pass a law on Wednesday to ensure all genetically modified (GM) products in the European Union are labelled, a step towards reopening the EU market, which rejects most GM foods at present.

The story says that parliament's crucial vote comes a month after the United States and other GM exporters launched a trade suit against the EU's five-year refusal to import new GM products pending the tough new rules.

David Bowe, a British Labour Euro MP, was quoted as saying, "We have listened to the concerns of people across Europe calling for the right to make an informed choice about GM food and we are trying to put in place a labelling and information scheme which makes that choice a reality."

To take account of the unavoidable mixing of GM with non-GM grains in shipments, the EU rules will set a threshold allowing a small amount of GM in products labelled as non-GM.

Parliament initially wanted this to be 0.5 percent but now looks likely to agree to the 0.9 percent set by EU farm ministers last November, parliament officials said.

For a three-year period, grains that have been approved by EU scientists have not yet been given a permit for sale on the EU market, would be tolerated in quantities of up to 0.5 percent in "non-GM" grain shipments into the 15-nation bloc.