The EU is set to impose new rules concerning genetically modified foods later this month that might lead to the unofficial moratorium on GM foods being lifted.

The new rules will upgrade existing rules to include crops and foods that have been genetically altered for several different reasons, such as pest resistance, appearance and taste.

As from 17 October, it will be mandatory for all products containing more than 1% GM material to be labelled.

The new legislation will also mean that any new GM foods or crops will only receive authorisation following a full risk assessment.

Regulations concerning the tracing of GM materials through the food chain are still being finalised.

Anti-GMO campaigners are not satisfied by the new regulations, believing them to contain loopholes. Although they welcome tougher rules concerning GMOs, campaigners do not want the moratorium lifted until traceability and labelling rules are in place.

An unofficial moratorium has existed for over three years in the EU since many EU states threatened to block new GM permits until tougher legislation was enforced. No new GM crops have been authorised in the EU since 1998.

The new regulations will be discussed at a meeting of EU environment ministers next week, reported Reuters.