§ Joan Ruddock
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from(a) retailers and (b) consumer representatives on the thresholds of genetically modified material in food currently subject to consultation by the European Commission; what advice his Department has given to the Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Quin
[holding answer 21 October 1999]: MAFF received a number of responses from retailers and consumer representatives in response to the recent EC Commission proposal on thresholds for GM material in food. The vast majority of these supported the threshold of 1 per cent. contained in the proposal as being a practical upper limit taking into account the current situation with regard to analytical methods and supply chain. It was recognised that this threshold would apply to food ingredients so that the level in the final food would be much lower.
The proposal was agreed in Brussels on 21 October with only minor changes.
In agreeing to the 1 per cent. figure we made clear that actual levels of GM material in non GM soya and maize ingredients should be kept as low as possible and that the threshold itself should be reviewed within two years. The Commission will be drafting a statement to accompany the Regulation to cover this point.
We shall be continuing to press strongly for clear EC rules to be agreed on GM free labelling and the labelling of animal foods containing GM material as quickly as possible.