NFPA Says EU Labeling and Traceability Legislation “Would Create New Trade Barrier”

Contact: Timothy Willard (202/637-8060)
Libby Mikesell (202/639-5919)

— Requirements Would be “Onerous for Food Companies, While Providing No Consumer Benefit,” NFPA Warns

(Washington, D.C.) – In response to legislation passed on July 2 by the European Parliament establishing expanded requirements for labeling foods and feeds that contain genetically modified ingredients, Dr. Jeffrey Barach, Vice President of Special Projects for the National Food Processors Association (NFPA), made the following comments:

“This legislation is being promoted as necessary to end a five-year EU moratorium on the introduction of new products of agricultural biotechnology. However, it also creates new labeling requirements for all foods and feeds sourced from genetically modified plants, as well as labeling for non-biotech foods that contain more than 0.9. percent genetically modified material. These new requirements will be burdensome for food companies, and are likely to be seen as ‘warning labels’ by European consumers. In essence, such labeling requirements ensure that these products are unlikely to enter the European market, thereby actually denying consumer access to the products of agricultural biotechnology.

“The effect of such labels would be to create a new barrier to the international trade in food and food products. The legislation also places cumbersome and expensive requirements on growers, processors, and importers of biotech foods to trace the source of the products or ingredients they use.

“NFPA does not support ‘process-based’ labeling, such as that required in the European Parliament’s legislation. Mandatory labeling should be based on the composition, intended use, and health and safety characteristics of a food product, not on the ‘genetic process’ from which it was derived.

“While NFPA supports the European Parliament’s stated intention of ending the moratorium on approvals of biotechnology-derived products, these new labeling and traceability requirements would be onerous for food producers, while providing no safety benefits to consumers. We will urge the EU to reconsider these new requirements, so that a new and onerous barrier to trade is not established.”