Finally, the EU Parliament has issued stricter rules on genetically modified food and feed. Thanks to the EU regulation, these must be clearly identifiable to consumers in the future, with indications such as "genetically modified" or "genetically modified". The new stricter rules are likely to become final in late autumn 2003. The economy has been granted a transitional period of six months, after which violations will be punished.
What does the regulation provide?
According to the new regulation, all genetically engineered and modified products must be labeled whose share of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is more than 0.9 percent. This includes foods in which only parts of the original product have been genetically modified. And it also applies if the manipulation is no longer detectable, such as oil from gene soy
, Overall, most of the genetically modified plants in the EU are used in animal feed. This too should be marked. Then farmers can choose in the future whether they want to feed their animals with genetically modified food or not. However, meat, milk or eggs from animals that have received genetically engineered feed are excluded.
Farmers, however, have the opportunity to inform consumers that their animals are being fed on GMO-free feed. Parliament has also adopted a second directive to ensure full traceability of GMOs in food and feed. In the future, the manufacturers will have to document the complete manufacturing process completely.
No damage is known in humans yet
At present, no case is known in which a human was harmed by a new gene in an approved food. And this despite the fact that the cultivation of genetically modified plants worldwide reached 58.7 million hectares in 2002, more than one and a half times the area of Germany. Leading by far is the USA (39 million hectares). This is followed by Argentina (13.5), Canada (3.5) and China (2.1). Mainly grown are soya, corn, canola and cotton. The gene plants are mostly resistant to important pests or have a gene that protects them from a spray.
Plants can reach outside the cultivated area
However, it is undisputed that the new genes can also reach other plants outside the cultivated area - with consequences that are not yet foreseeable. Agricultural corporations point out that no damage has occurred as a result. The cultivation of many gene plants are even good for the environment, because he needs less spray. On the other hand, the fact that genes from modified organisms have, for example, entered Mexico's traditional corn production indicates that there is a certain need for uncontrollability.
All power to the consumer?
Now the power lies with the consumer when shopping in the supermarket. According to a Greenpeace survey on genetically modified ingredients, only 18 out of 216 companies surveyed do not want to rule out such admixtures in their products. And even the vast majority of food companies in Germany would like to do without.