July 28, 2004:
Following the coming into effect of the EU
Directive on the labeling of genetically modified (GM)
food, Greenpeace has found that only a limited number
of such products are on sale in European supermarkets.
The international organization has been monitoring
the situation in supermarket chains since the Directive
came into force on April 18. No GM products were found
in Italy, Spain, Austria, Sweden or Greece. Four GM
products were discovered in Germany, three in Belgium,
and two in the UK and the Czech Republic. The most GM-labeled
products were found in France, which had 14, followed
by the Netherlands with 12.
According to Greenpeace, this state of affairs is a
success for consumers. 'Their rejection of GMOs in food
has made major food producers and retailers ensure that
their shelves are free of modified produce,' explained
Eric Gall of Greenpeace's European Unit.
With a system leaning greatly on traceability and thus
creating an extensive paper trail, food manufacturers
have been reticent about using GM ingredients. This
trend has been encouraged by the attitude of European
consumers, who remain distrustful of GM foodstuff. As
a result, apart from the notable exception of Spain,
not many GM seeds are being sold in Europe.
Despite this, Greenpeace has criticized the fact that
products derived from animals raised on GM feed do not
have to be labeled. 'It is still unacceptable that eggs,
meat and milk products should not be labeled as genetically
modified food if they come from animals nourished with
genetically modified products. Consumers want this guarantee,'
said Federica Ferrario, responsible for the Greenpeace
GM food campaign.
'Consumers are deliberately left in the dark about
this and are paying for the global cultivation of genetically
modified crops when they buy milk, eggs and sausages,'
added Mr. Gall. 'The European Commission should close
the loopholes in its legislation and defend the public's
right to say no to GMOs.'