EU votes against compulsory GM food labelling
Consumers kept in dark about food from animals fed on GM feed
According to the Ecologist, consumers will continue to be none the wiser about whether they are eating food from animals raised on genetically-modified feed after MEPs voted against introducing a compulsory label rule.
There is currently no requirement on the food industry to label meat or dairy products produced using GM animal feed, usually made from GM soya or maize. However, campaigners have argued that consumers should be given a choice about whether or not to buy such produce.
Genewatch director Dr Helen Wallace said consumers should be 'given a choice' and blamed the vote against labelling on lobbying from the food industry.
The vote against feed labelling comes as the EU commission prepares to approve the import of six new GM maize varieties after lobbying by biotech firms Syngenta and Monsanto.
Campaigners may take some heart from another vote by MEPs in favour of a ban on meat and dairy products from cloned animals and a moratorium on foods using nanotechnology until potential health risks can be ruled out.
At present there are no specific rules covering either cloned food or nano-sized ingredients or processes, although nanotechnology is already being used in food and food packaging.
Although MEPs voted in favour of the ban, the EU Council must still approve the decision. It has previously rejected calls for a ban by MEPs, hence the need for a second vote, and is said to be in favour of simply 'regulating' food from cloned animals. A final decision on both issues is expected this autumn.