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Recommendation for second reading on the common position for a regulation on genetically modified food and feed

Brussels, 28 May 2003

FINAL A5-0202/2003 23 May 2003 Type of Procedure: Codecision procedure (second reading)
RECOMMENDATION FOR SECOND READING on the Council common position for adopting a European Parliament and Council regulation on genetically modified food and feed
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[...] EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

In a number of important respects, the common position agrees with the proposals made by Parliament at first reading.

The principal provisions of the common position are as follows:

Thresholds for adventitious or technically unavoidable contamination

At first reading, the EP opposed the idea of a threshold for unauthorised genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which had received positive scientific risk assessments.

The Council proposes a three-year transitional provision which:

imposes a limit of 0.5%. If necessary, this level may be reduced by means of the committee procedure, particularly for GMOs sold direct to the final consumer.

After the transitional period, the 'zero tolerance' which Parliament called for would apply.

This transitional period was rejected by the committee.

b. Limit values for labelling

At first reading, the EP called for a limit value for labelling of 0.5%, but only for food/feed produced from GMOs. In the case of living GMOs, the EP called for 'zero tolerance'.

The Council has set a limit of 0.9% above which food containing GMO material whose presence is adventitious or technically unavoidable would have to be labelled accordingly. Particularly in the case of food or feed which contains or consists of GMOs (the latter meaning living GMOs), lower limits may be set under the committee procedure.

The amendments from 1st reading have been reinstated and adopted.

c. Coexistence

The principal aim of the proposed labelling of genetically modified food and feed is to ensure that consumers have freedom of choice. The separation of genetically modified food and feed from that which is not GM is a basic precondition for this.

This concern was a central theme at first reading. The relevant amendments, 14, 43 and 88, were adopted by a clear majority. These amendments required operators in future to take the requisite measures to avoid adventitious contamination. Regrettably, the Council and Commission did not take this position into account and therefore these amendments have been reinstated and adopted.

[...]

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy - Rapporteur: Karin Scheele

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