Novel foods – those from new production processes or those traditionally consumed only outside the EU – have been regulated since 1997. The European Parliament voted today to back a new streamlined authorisation procedure, with risk assessment to be carried out by the European Food Safety Authority. However, MEPs highlighted specific concerns about the use of cloned animals and nanotechnology for food.
No food from cloned animals
Currently, there are no EU rules to specifically allow or ban dairy products and meat from cloned animals. The Commission and Council wish to have these products regulated under novel foods rules but MEPs voted today to exclude them from those rules. They called instead for new EU legislation to be proposed to expressly prohibit foods from cloned animals and their descendants, with a moratorium on their sale in the meantime.
European Parliament novel foods rapporteur and Dutch MEP Kartika Liotard (GUE/NGL) commented: “A clear majority in the European Parliament supports ethical objections to the industrial production of cloned meat for food. Cloned animals suffer disproportionately highly from illnesses, malformations and premature death. MEPs have been calling for proper regulation for years: it’s high time the Commission listened to the European Parliament and citizens on this issue.”
Moratorium on nanomaterials
The European Parliament agreed that nano-sized ingredients and food from nanotech processes should be subject to novel foods regulations. They furthermore called for a moratorium until specifically-designed risk assessment of nanotechnology processes or nano-ingredients can prove them to be safe, expressing concerns that nanotechnology is already being used in food and food packaging. Any approved nano-ingredients should be mentioned on food labels.
Food from GM-fed animals
A majority of MEPs rejected an amendment calling for compulsory labelling of food products that derive from animals raised on genetically-modified feed.
If Council does not accept this second-reading position of the Parliament, an agreement will be sought through the conciliation procedure.
Source: European Parliament
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