A key World Trade Organisation (WTO) document obtained by environmental activist group Friends of the Earth (FOE) shows that the US is putting increasing pressure on Europe to weaken its proposed laws on GM foods and crops. 

The document is the US's response to the WTO over EU proposals to improve the safety testing of GM foods and to widely increase consumer choice and information.

The US complains that the current proposals will be "more trade restrictive than necessary". It also says that they should not include animal feeds, even though most GM crops are fed to farm animals, and that they should re-define all food crops as "genetically modified". Furthermore, it insists that Member States should be allowed to have the final say leaving "substantial room for political interference"  and that "individual member states will continue to be able to hold the  approval process hostage to political concerns".

Meanwhile, a recent EU opinion poll showed that 94.6% of citizens stated that they want the right to choose about GM foods.

Adrian Bebb, FOE food campaigner, commented: "The Bush Administration is trying to take away our right to decide on GM food.  The public has made it very clear that they want proper labelling and proper testing for GM foods. The proposed EU laws are at least a step in the right direction. The US wants to weaken these laws to protect the likes of Monsanto and American agri-business. 

"European countries must refuse to bow to this bullying.  European citiziens demand the right to choose."

To read the US response, click here.