The European Parliament yesterday [Tuesday] voted to strengthen legislation proposed by the European Commission that would authorise the EU to sign up to the Cartegena Protocol for regulating the cross-border movement of genetically modified organisms.

Amendments approved by the EP in its first reading of the legislation would require an EU food importer to give specific consent to a GM shipment and would prevent the export of genetically modified material from the EU if the GMOs are not approved within the European Union.

The EP also called for tougher traceability regulations so that an importer is informed of GMOs in animal feed. The Cartegena Protocol does not apply to shipments within the EU.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent