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European Commission officials press for end to GMO moratorium

(Oct. 23, 2001 CropChoice news) The European Commission has failed to persuade five European Union member countries to end their bans on genetically modified organisms before the enactment of Union-wide legislation that mandates the labeling and tracking of all such ingredients. Since 1998, the EU has maintained a de facto ban on transgenic organisms by disallowing the introduction of any new varieties.

Commission officials are concerned that the preference of France, Austria, Denmark, Greece and Luxembourg to end the ban only after the labeling protocol takes effect in 2003, at the earliest, could leave the European Union open to a challenge from the United States at the World Trade Organization. U.S. authorities could argue that the ban is meant more to protect the EU agricultural sector by diminishing imports than it is to ensure consumer choice and safeguard human and environmental health in Europe.

Readers should remember that some EU countries, namely the United Kingdom, are balking at the idea of strict labeling and tracking, and that the United States is threatening legal if the moratorium remains and if the EU countries enact the labeling proposal.

Source: FarmProgress