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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Parliament issues urgent call to regulate cloned foods

European Parliament Vice-President Gianni Pittella on Wednesday deplored the fact that the sale of food of cloned animal origin will continue to be permitted in the EU without labelling requirements, in a plenary debate on failed talks to update "novel foods" rules. He called on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal as a matter of urgency. Mr Pittella said the failure of talks "postponed the chance for consumers to have clear information on what they eat" and underlined that Parliament had been unwilling to accept a compromise that would not guarantee this "basic right". Rapporteur Kartika Liotard (GUE/NGL, NL), revealed that Council's own legal advice was not consistent with statements from the Hungarian Presidency and the European Commission that Parliament's position would contravene WTO rules and spark a trade war. She read from an internal document that stated "The bans of food from offspring cloned animals and of food from offspring of clones could be justified on the basis of consumers' ethical considerations". She also asked if the legal opinion had been properly circulated among Member States in Council. A representative of Hungarian Minister Enikő Győri replied that there were genuine concerns, also in the cited legal opinion, about international trade rules. Commissioner John Dalli assured MEPs that there would not be undue delays in proposing new legislation.

Source: European Parliament