3 items on labelling
Third World wants GM foods labelled
Globe and Mail 03/05/2001, Canada (www.globeandmail.com)
Thursday, May 3, 2001 Ottawa
Third World countries pleaded yesterday with Canada and the United States to label the genetically modified foods they export, telling a United Nations body meeting in Ottawa they won't be able to cope if the foods prove dangerous. But nations that produce such foods -- notably Canada, the United States and Argentina -- stalled progress toward an agreement.
Copyright (c) 2001 Globe Interactive [Entered May 03, 2001]
GENETIC MODIFICATION Food labelling may not be enough, says Greenpeace
Group launches consumer guide
Bangkok Post 03/05/2001
Labelling may not be a strong enough measure to protect consumers from genetically modified food, a local Greenpeace campaigner said yesterday. "The Public Health Ministry's plan to label GM products within three months was a good beginning, but it couldn't totally protect consumers from the potential danger of GM food," said Auaiporn Suthonthanyakorn of Greenpeace's Southeast Asia.
"Consumers should know first how to avoid eating them," she added. Ms Auaiporn said that after the discovery of food products containing genetically modified organisms here, Greenpeace and the Confederation of Consumer Organisations had received many calls from people who wanted to know what GMOs were and how to avoid them. In response, Greenpeace and the confederation yesterday started distributing copies of a consumer guide called Seven Steps to Avoid GM Food in the Silom area.
The steps are: buy fresh produce; avoid food products made from soya bean, corn or canola; beware processed food imports from the US and Canada; check with manufacturers if their products contain GMOs; push for GM food labelling; support supermarkets that oppose GMOs; and support Thai and organic food products. Sairung Thongplon, the confederation manager, called the guide "a first line of defence" for consumers until the government came up with strong and fair GM food labelling. The confederation also demanded the labelling of all GM products sold here regardless of their percentage of content. Jim Thomas, of Greenpeace's British office, said Greenpeace campaigning against GMOs in Thailand was "somehow easier" than in the US or Europe, where strong biotechnological industries spent billions of dollars on advertising and getting politicians on their side. He added that setting up GM labelling regulations would be easy here since authorities could learn from almost 30 countries where such regulations were already in place. (c) Copyright The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd.
2001 Last Modified: Thu, May 3, 2001 [Entered May 03, 2001]
Fight on GM food labelling
BBC Online Business
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_1308000/1-1308126.stm) Wednesday, 2 May, 2001, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
By the BBC's Lee Carter in Toronto
A United Nations meeting looking at international labelling of genetically modified food is taking place in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. Nine years of debate has failed to find consensus on the issue of whether GM foods should be labelled for the consumer. As European and Asian countries move towards requiring mandatory labelling of genetically modified (GM) food, the United States and Canada - the world's biggest grain exporters - are firmly resisting doing so. "Consumer groups, the public in general, is very sensitive to the issue of GM foods - we've realised that over the last two years in Europe," says Patrick Deboyser, the head of food law and biotechnology at the European Commission, which is in favour of mandatory labelling. That may be the case in Europe, but it is not to true in the US and Canada where the issue has barely dented the public consciousness. Downplaying concerns There have been fewer food scares, such as mad cow disease, in North America than in Europe and it seems that the public have more faith in their food producers. There is so little knowledge of GM foods here that a leading Canadian supermarket chain says it cannot call a new range of fresh vegetables GM free because few consumers would know what the term means and it might even put them off. The Loblaws Group says it will call their vegetables organic instead. As the world's largest producers of genetically modified crops, the US and Canada have a vested interest in downplaying the concerns about genetic engineering raised by environmental groups.
The two countries are already involved in bitter disputes with the European Union over the banning of some GM products and North American meat reared with hormones. With the two sides so polarised, it seems unlikely there will be much room for agreement at this meeting. But the dispute is likely to resurface at the World Trade Organisation, where the US could bring a complaint against the EU over the issue. [Entered May 03, 2001]