25 March 2009
The European Parliament yesterday overwhelmingly backed new EU rules on 'novel foods', nanotechnology, genetically-modified products and meat from cloned animals. In a crucial vote, MEPs supported strict safety testing to authorise nanotech food and compulsory labelling for both nanotech food and that originating from GM-fed animals.
The European Parliament had also backed calls from the Greens/European Free Alliance (EFA), to which the SNP is aligned, to withhold authorisation for foods produced with the aid of nanotechnologies until adequate test methods are available. This means a moratorium on nano-foods and therefore a call to the food industry to take existing affected products off the market until their safety is assured.
The Greens/EFA demand for mandatory labelling of nanomaterial ingredients was also supported by the European Parliament by a large majority. This should ensure that progress is made towards closing the GMO-labelling gap with regard to animal products. It also means that food from animals fed with GMOs – whether, meat, milk or eggs – must now be labelled as such.
Speaking from Strasbourg, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:
"Consumers must not be guinea pigs for new forms of food. I therefore welcome the European Parliament's vote for stronger standards of scrutiny with regards the use of nanotechnology in food. Today, foods containing nanomaterials have already been allowed onto the EU market without any controls or safeguards, even though the potential risks are yet to be adequately assessed."
Speaking from Edinburgh, SNP MSP Rob Gibson said:
"Scotland can benefit hugely from this very positive European Parliament vote. This is a real victory for consumer rights and choice."