France adopts GM-free labelling for meat, poultry and dairy products
from the GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK, 8 April 2009
*France's National Consumers' Council adopts "Fed without GMOs" label
(Memo from French lawyer Blanche Magarinos-Rey, 8 April 2009)
*Launch of a "Fed without GMO" label
(Europe 1 / France info, 4 April 2009)
*Comment by TraceConsult
(8 April 2009)
*Comment by GM-free Ireland
(8 April 2009)
France's National Consumers' Council adopts "Fed without GMOs" label
Memo from French lawyer Blanche Magarinos-Rey, 8 April 2009.
A new label bearing the words "Nourri sans OGM" (Fed without GMOs) was adoped on Friday 3 April by the Conseil National de la Consommation (CNC), a democratic consultative body attached to the Ministry in charge of consumer affairs. The information disseminated on the Europe 1 web site [see below] satisfies the expectations of 86% of French people.
According to www.Sans-ogm.org, food products from livestock are not currently required to mention the presence of GMOs on their labels. Some producers organise their animal feed supply chain without GMOs (meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products), and are able to prove that measure are in place to avoid accidental traces of GM ingredients above 0.9%.
The results of a survey on GMOs carried out last January were recently published by the Farmers of Loué who have set p a GM-free supply chain for their poultry produce.
According to the survey, carried out by the Efficience 3 Institute, approximately 93% of French people find it abnormal that producers who feed their livestock with GMOs are not obliged to mention this on their produce (meats, milk, eggs...). Europe 1 reports that a label bearing the words "Fed without GMOs" will be applied to meat and dairy produce, from now on.
Approximately 76% of French people support the "GM-free" label and 86% approve the labelling project with the caption "Fed without GMOs minimum guarantee 99.1%."
Launch of a "Fed without GMO" label
Europe 1 / France Info, 4 April 2009:
Europe 1 news: The National Consumers' Council [in France] voted on Friday in favour of a new "Fed without GMOs" label for use on meat and dairy produce.
A label with the caption "Fed without GMOs" was adopted Friday by the National Consumers' Council (http://www.minefi.gouv.fr/conseilnationalconsommation/presentation.htm) following a meeting at the Ministry of Finance with representatives of "Que choisir" [the "Which to chose" consumers organisation] and the agri-food industry. This label will be used on meat and dairy produce. Until now, there was no way to know if livestock had been fed with transgenic products.
GMOs are a hot topic in Europe. The European Commission has not given up its attempt to force the cultivation of Monsanto's genetically modified maize, but it is reluctant to create a new psychodrama with France about its safeguard clause, before the European elections. The dossier is managed directly by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barrosso, and he is a source of tension with Paris. The last attempt to impose the cultivation of MON810 ended in a total rejection for the Commisison (http://www.europe1.fr/Info/Actualite-Internationale/Europe/Revers-pour-la-Commi ssion-europeenne-sur-les-OGM).
With a crushing majority of 22 against 5, the EU Member States refused to force Hungary and Austria to lift their bans on the cultivation of the American genetically modified maize.
Green deputy Noël MamÃ¨re on Martial You's microphone:
"This decision by the National Consumers' Council is step in the right direction. Its provides a means to remind both the authorities and the French people that GMO is dangerous, it may be harmful for our health.
Question: Your hope for this label, is also to show by consumption - by the numbers which it generates - that French people don't want GM food?"
"My hope is that the National Consumers' Council will, through this label, contribute to raise French people's awareness about the dangers that result from intensive and highly polluting forms of agriculture. I think it will also contribute to a further reduction of the use of GMOs, because if the French people - who as you know have now become very well informed consumers with the crisis - who know how to consume selectively and sustainably, well if they see a "produced without GMOs" label they will buy this meat or this product rather than some other one whose origins and traceability are unknown."
Comment by TraceConsultâ„¢
A mere administrative edict by the French Ministry of Finances, in charge incidentally also for product fraud, had made it practically impossible for years for French operators to market - and label - products that were produced without the use of GMOs. With new attention focused on the entire subject matter in France - and looking at the wording of the news item below, this must include also the recent vote by the EU Council of Ministers on the French ban of MON810 planting - the powerful Conseil national de la consommation has given its green light to the Ministry to introduce a new label on meat and dairy products.
In the near future, France"s "Nourri sans OGM" will join the ranks of "Ohne Gentechnik" in Germany and "Gentechnikfrei erzeugt" in Austria assuring consumers that the animal product they are looking at was produced without genetically modified organisms. The same is possible in practically all other EU Member States as well, but respective national regulations of whatever format are still missing.
The crocodile tears shed by industry opponents over the positive regulation of such claims are usually based on the correct argument that mainly enzymes and amino acids that were produced with the use of GM organisms are permitted in food products thus labeled. These critics forget two things: The proportions in which soy meal and corn products appear in animal feed rations and that enzymes, amino acids and vitamins etc. themselves are not organisms and contain no DNA. That, however, is the main reason of concern by the opponents of GMOs.
*Comment by GM-free Ireland
This is a great victory for consumers of French food around the world. But according to a member of France's National Consumers' Council, Nestlé and Danone are now trying to prevent the use of the GM-free label, on the grounds that its introduction could lead informed consumers to boycott their products manufactured with milk from livestock fed on GM ingredients! To settle the matter, the French Ministry of Consumer Affairs is reported to have set a final deadline of 1 May for the various stakeholders to reach a voluntary agreement, after which the Ministry will approve the label by decree.
On 15 January 2009, at a meeting of the Irish Government's Joint Oireachtas (Parliament and Senate) Committee on European Affairs, the President of the Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers Association, Malcolm Thompson, said:
"The ICSA would like to see a retail environment where consumers are always able to choose European product where the quality and origin is clearly defined and easily understood. We see this as a system of regulated logos and labels whereby farmers are recognised for their efforts. Each product would indicate country of origin and demonstrate that it was produced to the EU baseline standard. For those producers who go to the next level, those producers who go that extra mile and participate in REPS or who are farming organically, or who can certify that their product is GM free or grass-fed, should have their niche also clearly identified on the label."
The GM-free Ireland Network lobbied the Irish Government to set up a GM-free certification and labelling scheme for meat, poultry and dairy produce in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Their failure to do so continues to damage what remains of our reputation as Ireland the food island, in the aftermath of the recent dioxin animal feed scandal.
On 20 March, GM-free Ireland organised a workshop on GM-free food certification and labelling for Irish farmers, with the French legal expert Blanche MagariÃ±os-Rey. The Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers Association took part in the event and reaffirmed its commitment for such a voluntary label for Irish food produce.
Thanks to the largely grass-based diet of Irish cattle and sheep, most Irish farmers and food producers can phase out GM animal feed from their supply chain with less hassle and expense than their competitors in other EU member states. Together with the Government’s agreed progamme to keep the island of Ireland off limits to GM crops, this strategy would give Irish meat, poultry and dairy produce a unique sellling point: the most credible safe GM-free food brand in Europe.
GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK
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