The EU has again indicated its determination to maintain its firm stance on labelling genetically modified food.
According to documents filed at the World Trade Organisation, the EU has cited “very strong evidence that European consumers are interested to know whether their food is derived from genetically modified organisms,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
The US filed an informal complaint at the WTO earlier this year about the planned EU labelling rules, saying that they would discriminate against farmers and food processors in the US where genetically engineered crops are widespread and acceptance levels are high. The US has threatened to upgrade this to a formal complaint, arguing that the labelling initiative constitutes an unfair barrier to trade.
European agriculture and environment ministers will vote on the labelling measure in two weeks’ time, and the measure could become law as early as next year. Resistance to GM food in the EU remains high, with concerns over its impact on health and the environment persisting.
In the US, in contrast, some 70% of processed food contains GM ingredients. Producers and retailers in the US are not obliged to indicate the presence of GM ingredients on product labels. However, there is currently a move in Oregon to make labelling a requirement. For more on this, click here.