HC Deb 04 June 1998 vol 313 c498
13. Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

What safeguards are in place to ensure that consumers have adequate labelling and information on genetically modified foods. [42734]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Jeff Rooker)

European Community regulations require all foods containing genetically modified materials to be clearly labelled. In addition, we have taken a number of initiatives to ensure that consumers have information about these types of food.

Ms Stuart

I thank the Minister for that response. I understand that there are already several controls in place. Can he assure me that they are strictly monitored and updated in the light of new technology?

Mr. Rooker

Yes. None of the crops involving genetic modification can be planted unless they are approved by the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, which reports to the Department of the Environment, not to the Ministry of Agriculture. On food production, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes has to examine and license every product that comes on to the market. As my right hon. Friend the Minister said earlier, we have taken steps with our European partners in the past few days to ensure that labelling will be more precise than ever contemplated by our predecessors.