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EU labeling, traceability proposals under attack

(Oct. 2, 2001 – CropChoice news) – Signs abound of a tough road ahead for Europe’s new proposals restricting the sale of foods with transgenic ingredients. In July, the European Commission adopted proposals that would require the labeling and traceability of foods throughout the production and distribution process; products derived from genetic engineering would be labeled, even if they showed no detectable (an important word) DNA. The next step is getting EU member states to accept the proposals.

But that’s proving to be difficult, at least in the case of Britain. The Food Standards Agency recently said that the proposed rules are too expensive and complex to enforce and, therefore, are unworkable. And now, Prime Minister Tony Blair has ordered his government officials to block all Commission efforts on the issue.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, the Bush administration and U.S. agribusiness interests vehemently oppose Europe’s attempts to satisfy consumer demands to know what they’re eating. Viewing the rules as a barrier to trade, the White House has even broached the possibility of launching a challenge in the World Trade Organization.