Manitoba, September 9, 2003 -- CropChoice news -- Reuters,
09/08/03 via Agnet: After spending thousands
of hours over four years discussing how best to label
foods that contain genetically modified ingredients,
a Canadian committee was cited as saying on Monday it
has agreed on voluntary rules, but the standards won't
be made public before they have been approved by the
Canadian General Standards Board, which could take months.
Nora Mishikawa of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
was quoted as saying, "What they're saying is that,
at this point in time, it's at a stage where they feel
consensus is reached."
Jeanne Cruikshank of the Canadian Council of Grocery
Distributors, who has been part of the committee since
it began in 1999, was cited as saying that Canadian
food makers will not be forced to indicate whether or
not their products contain GM ingredients, but if they
want to make claims on the subject, they have to be
able to prove them, adding, "I think it would be
incorrect to think that suddenly there's going to be
a proliferation of labels, but when there are labels,
you can know that they are truthful, and they are based
on some consistent set of rules."
The stories say that the rules are controversial in
part because food containing less than 5 percent GM
content can have a label stating it does not contain
Cruikshank was further quoted as saying, "It is
more likely the 'does not contain' products that are
going to be labeled first, because we can do those with
the most accuracy."
The stories note that activists who oppose GM food
slammed the voluntary labeling scheme, noting many consumer
groups dropped out of the process because they believe
food makers won't have an incentive to label food that
contains GM ingredients.
Patrick Venditti of Greenpeace, a group that boycotted
the process because it wanted mandatory labels, was
quoted as saying, "When they say they have consensus,
they're really saying they have consensus between industry