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[SANET-MG] US says labeling GM food too costly
In Canada and US GM food producers argued that labeling GM food would
increase food costs to consumers by15% to 20%. That threat had the food
producers mouths watering as the threat seemed to be a way to boost
profits. The current efforts are about as transparent as the earlier ones.
I think that Canada's role at the Cartagena meeting showed that Canada
had transformed the UN Biodiversity Centre into a public relations
agency for GM food producers. The UN Biodiversity Centre should be moved
to a location where biodiversity could be studied!
Food Navigator USA.com
Breaking News on Food Development in the US
US argues biotech rules too costly for exporters
01/06/2005 - Demands for both the US and Canada to take responsibility
for genetically modified (GM) food contamination and sign up to the
Cartagena Biosafety Protocol are likely to be frustrated, writes Anthony
North American food and bitoech lobbyists appear to have successfully
convinced both governments yet again that mandatory labeling for GM
crops would be too costly, and would adversely affect exports.
As a result, both the US and Canada have still not signed the protocol,
which is being discussed this week at a summit in Montreal.
But the tide of global opinion appears to be against them.
Representatives of 119 governments are expected to adopt binding rules
this week on papers required to accompany GM commodities such as wheat,
maize and soy when they are transported across borders.
These rules will ensure that only approved GMOs enter the territory of
respective parties signed up to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The
European Commission said it would push for documentation requirements
that are “clear, meaningful, practical for both exporters and importers
of agricultural products, and consistent with EU law.”
However, both the US and Canada, along with other major grain exporting
countries such as Argentina, Australia, Chile and Uruguay (collectively
known as the Miami Group), argue that compulsory labeling would create
serious paperwork requirements and fear that the protocol would extend
to food products containing GMOs as well.
In addition, the US has consistently demanded the inclusion of a
provision in the Protocol that would, in effect, elevate World Trade
Organisation (WTO) rules above those of the Biosafety Protocol. The US,
along with food and ingredient exporters, was motivated by concerns that
the Biosafety Protocol could be used as a protectionist device to favour
domestic GMOs over foreign ones.
Pro-Cartagena campaigners have not given up hope. A letter to the
Canadian environment minister Stéphane Dion from a group including
Greenpeace and the Canadian National Farmers Union invited the minister
to see for himself Canadian GM canola found to be growing wild in Japan.
"If the government does not act now to hold manufacturers and exporters
liable for contamination then the dangers associated with GM
contamination will only increase,” said Greenpeace Canada GM campaigner
Eric Darier. "The case of Canadian GM canola contamination in Japan is
further proof that the Canadian government is complicit with
agri-biotech companies such as Monsanto.”
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is the only international treaty
governing the cross-border transport of genetically modified organisms
and a supplementary agreement to the 1992 Convention on Biological
Biodiversity. The rules set out in the protocol are intended to promote
the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and protect
the public from the potentially harmful effects of GMOs.
The protocol entered into force on 11 September 2003 and currently has
The US, the driving force behind the Miami Group, is the world's largest
producer of GM crops. It exports over $60 billion of agricultural
products a year.
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