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
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.'