EU gets tougher on GMO labeling, tracing

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WASHINGTON – U.S. farm groups are bracing for implementation of two European Union regulations mandating the labeling and traceability of products derived from biotechnology.

The regulations took effect April 18.

The regulations will have far-reaching impacts on U.S. agriculture and food exports, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

Discrimination. “NCGA is very concerned about the new regulations and their ultimate impact on corn producers across the country,” said Helen Inman, chair of the association’s Biotechnology Working Group.

She said the EU is “ignoring sound science and discriminating against products produced using biotechnology.”

The regulations call for a threshold for adventitious contamination of 0.9 percent for approved genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and 0.5 percent for unapproved GMOs.

Labeling required. Labeling and traceability will be required whether or not the target protein is detectable in the end product.

“Corn growers already suffer annual losses of $250 million from the EU’s moratorium on new biotech products,” Inman said.

Pushing Bush. Late last year, the association and nearly two dozen U.S. agriculture and business organizations called on the Bush administration to challenge the new regulations in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“We anticipate the cost of the new regulations to the industry could be significant,” Inman said.

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