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EU agriculture ministers achieve breakthrough on transgenic food labeling

(Thursday, Nov. 28, 2002 -- CropChoice news) --

Associated Press: European Union agriculture ministers clinched a breakthrough Thursday to end months of dispute over the labeling of genetically modified food.

The 15 ministers approved by a majority decision that 0.9 percent of biotech material can be in food or animal feed before it has to be labeled as genetically modified. Danish Agriculture Minister Marian Fischer Boel, who chaired the talks, said, "We have taken an important step toward offering consumers a real choice when it comes to GMOs."

For most of Thursday, seven EU nations were holding out for a 0.5 percent threshold and the rest seeking 1 percent. In the end, the opposition of Britain, which sought a one-percent threshold, and Luxembourg and Austria, which wanted more stringent limits, could not stop the measure from being approved. German Consumer Minister Renate Kuenast said, "This is a major step forward for consumers."

Now, the ministerial agreement goes back for approval to the European Parliament, which has previously pushed for the lower limits of genetically modified food content.