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EU MPs have voted strongly in favour of tougher rules on the labelling of GM, cloned and nano foods

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EU votes for labels on nano, cloned and GM food

Ecologist

5th May, 2010

UK and other member states expected to fight proposals to bring in compulsory labelling for consumers on novel foods

MEPs have voted almost unanimously in favour of introducing compulsory labelling on food containing nanoparticles, meat from cloned animals and animals fed on genetically modified (GM) feed.

Nanotechnology

The politicians voted in favour of all nano ingredients in food to be suffixed with the word 'nano' in brackets.

In January this year, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee criticised the food industry for failing to be transparent about its use of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials.

GM

Friends of the Earth's food campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran said consumers were largely unaware of the extent of both GM and nano in food.

'It is a big hole in the labelling legislation, and in the case of GM most of what currently comes into the EU is animal feed. Consumers should be given the freedom of choice,' she said.

Both decisions will now need to be approved by the European Council, which has previously rejected the proposals on GM labelling. However, with MEPs voting a second time in favour of tougher rules on GM and nano, observers say the Council is likely to face pressure to reach a compromise.

Cloning

The Council will also have to decide on further regulations after MEPs voted in favour of measures to ban food derived from cloned animals.

A report published this week by the campaign group Testbiotech highlighted the lack of regulations governing cloned animals, their offspring or breeding material being imported into the EU.

'There is a high likelihood that consumers will be served products from cloned animals or their offspring without their knowledge,' said report author Christoph Then. 'There is no transparency for consumers and farmers.'

The Council is expected to decide on whether to accept the EU Parliament's decision by July.

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