January 19, 2004
Source: Reuters News Service
BRUSSELS - The European Commission sought to calm consumer concerns over genetically modified organisms last week by giving each GMO variety a unique code so it can be traced throughout the food chain.
Under the legislation adopted by the EU executive Commission, each GMO variety used in food and animal feed would be assigned a specific code consisting of letters and digits. "This will allow products containing these GMOs to be accurately traced and labeled when they come to the marketplace," the Commission said in a statement.
The European Union is divided over whether to lift its de facto five-year ban on new genetically modified food and crops, which is under attack mainly from the United States for breaking trade laws.
Member states are split over allowing imports of a new type of GM maize - a test case for the ban.
Food processors would have to include the code in documentation accompanying the biotech food.
The unique code legislation will apply once it is published in the EU's Official Journal, officials said.