Weaker environmental safeguards for genetically engineered foods

Novel foods and food ingredients containing or consisting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are to be excluded from an EC regulatory system intended to protect the environment against the risks posed by deliberate releases of GMOs. Under a new proposal issued by the European Commission, they would be subject to a separate control scheme whose details will be established by officials rather than embodied in legislation, and which appears to offer fewer safeguards for the environment.1

The EC's existing arrangements for protecting the environment against the risks posed by experimental and commercial releases of GMOs were set up by a Directive adopted in 1990 (ENDS Report 176, pp 28-29). This has yet to be implemented by most Member States, including the UK.

The Directive provides that products containing GMOs must not be placed on the market without a written consent. This can only be granted following an application w

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