The EU’s commissioner for health and consumer protection, David Byrne, has said he expects the EU to issue its first authorisations of genetically modified foods under its new labelling and traceability rules by the end of May.

Byrne was speaking while in the US for meetings with officials to discuss several issues, including the US WTO complaint against the EU’s moratorium on GM food.

“We have adopted legislation that provided labelling with a system of traceability,” Byrne was quoted by Dow Jones News as saying. “I confidently predict the first of these authorisations will come in just a few weeks.”  

“I am not that concerned about the WTO challenge,” Byrne said. “The legislation that has been put in place meets the concerns of EU consumers and that took some time to put in place.”  

“It seems to me the basis of the case – that is that there was a delay in authorisations – is undermined,” he added. “The case will fall away in one form or another.”  

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Byrne also said he had held talks with US Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, who had assured him the US would work to quickly resolve a dispute with France that has led to a US ban on imports of French processed meat, such as foie gras, Dow Jones reported.