HC Deb 17 March 2000 vol 346 c361W
Mr. David Heath

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made with negotiating the voluntary agreement with industry on labelling of genetically modified produce. [113765]

Ms Quin

[holding answer 13 March 2000]: All genetically modified food sold in the UK is required by law to be labelled. In the UK these requirements apply to foods sold in restaurants as well as in retail premises. We are working within Europe to agree a definition of "GM free" in a labelling claim and to achieve a labelling regime for animal feed in relation to GM ingredients.

Mr. David Heath

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research he has commissioned on the safety for human consumption of meat from animals fed on GM crops. [113767]

Ms Quin

[holding answer 13 March 2000]: None, as there is no evidence that meat from animals fed on GM crops is in any way distinguishable from animals fed on conventional feedingstuffs.

Ms Drown

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to introduce legislation to give effect to EC Regulations 49/2000 and 50/2000 concerning the labelling of genetically modified foods. [115741]

Ms Quin

The Genetically Modified and Novel Foods (Labelling) (England) Regulations 2000, which will come into force on 10 April, have today been laid before Parliament. These Regulations make provision in England for the enforcement of two new European labelling Regulations for GM foods, which will take effect automatically in all member states on 10 April, as well as consolidating all earlier GM labelling provisions.

The first of these, EC Regulation 49/2000, amends Regulation 1139/98 on the labelling of foods containing GM soya and maize, to extend the scope of the requirements to include foods for catering establishments, and to establish a 1 per cent. de minimis threshold for the adventitious contamination of non-GM material, below which GM labelling will not be required. The second, EC Regulation 50/2000, will require for the first time, the labelling of foods and food ingredients which contain GM additives and flavourings.

The Government are determined that consumers should be able to make informed choices about whether or not to eat genetically modified foods, and these new Regulations will strengthen further the arrangements already in place for this purpose.

A letter is being sent today to interested parties advising them of the content of the Regulations and enclosing a copy of the text. A Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Regulations has been prepared and placed in the Libraries of the House.

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