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CONCERN OVER FOOD LABELING PROPOSAL

Last updated: 2002-12-17

The Board has written to the Food Standards Agency about a proposed EU regulation on genetically modified food and feed.

The Board is particularly concerned at the Commission’s proposal that food labeling should include information about “any characteristic or property which gives rise to ethical or religious concerns.”

Board Director General Neville Nagler commented:
“No explanation has been given as to what lies behind this proposal, and no indication as to how such provision could be implemented and assessed. Who is to decide whether a food gives rise to ethical or religious concerns? What kind of religious authority will be needed to decided whether the food gives rise to such concerns? And how would such any such concerns be assessed if there were to be disagreement among different religious or ethical perspectives?”

“There are potentially enormous implications which could arise from the expectations of different religious traditions, and it seems probable that a high proportion of foods, could in some way or other give rise give rise to ethical or religious concerns. In light of all these complications and uncertainties, it is our view that this particular provision ought to be withdrawn.”