WINNIPEG, 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 GM material.
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 and government."