The European Commission has told Cyprus that it will be barred from displaying GM food separately from non-GM food in supermarkets.

Cyprus informed Brussels last September that the Government wanted to force supermarkets to place GM foods on separate, designated shelves. Cyprus held that this national move was permissible under Article 95(5) of the EU Treaty, allowing divergence from EU harmonisation measures under certain conditions.

The Commission has now blocked the plan on legal grounds, saying the necessary conditions have not been met. It said this did not prejudge the question of whether the proposal concerned a harmonised area of Community law, nor its compatibility with WTO rules.