European Parliament Paves the way for GMO-Free Europe

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Progressive legislation secured, despite intensified US pressure Strasbourg, 2 July 2003. Hailed as a historic victory for consumers, the European Parliament today adopted the world's strictest and most comprehensive rules on the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Europeans praised the move, which is a practical example of EU resistance towards the intensified global campaign by the US Government and the genetic engineering (GE) industry to ease or abolish GMO legislation.

The new EU rules allow consumers to exercise their right to reject GMO food. All food and animal feed containing or deriving from GMOs will have to be clearly labeled,

making it possible for farmers, food producers and consumers to continue avoid using or

eating them.

"This vote is a slap in the face of the US Administration, which thought that by bullying and waving the WTO stick Europe, and eventually others, would swallow its GMO policy. In the real world, however, the EU has now adopted progressive legislation,

which facilitates the market's desire to identify and exclude GE ingredients."

said Eric Gall, Greenpeace EU Advisor.

Since the first shipment of GE soy arrived in Europe in 1996, public opposition to

genetically engineered food has been massive and shown no signs of decline. The

world's largest GE soy producers, the US and Argentina, have since lost 3.3 million

tons of soybean exports to Europe. The third largest soy producer, Brazil, has gained

significantly from its GE-free status and has recently confirmed its determination to

forbid planting of GMOs during the upcoming growing season. The market rejection

continues to spread as at least 37 countries worldwide now have restrictions on GMOs in


"While the new rules are a significant step forward," says advocates against GMOS, "they regret that loopholes remain in the legislation, most importantly regarding dairy and meat...