One Million People Waiting

Feature story - 5 February, 2007
European citizens have long rejected genetically engineered (GE) food in their supermarkets but under the current EU labelling laws, animal products such as milk, meat and eggs coming from animals fed with GE feed can be sold without any labels warning of their GE content. One million people across the Europe Union (EU) want that to change.

One million signatures wind their way to the European Commission in Brussels.

The petition, signed by more than one million citizens, was delivered to Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety in Brussels today. The petition has travelled across Europe from Ireland to Poland and Finland to Greece with people young and old calling for the labelling of animal products where the animals have been fed with GE feed.

A loophole in EU law exempts animal products from labelling requirements: foods like cooking oil, ketchup and cake mix have to be labelled if the ingredients include 0.9 percent or more of ingredients with GE. But food products derived from animals fed with GE feed, like meat, milk and eggs do not need to be labelled at all.

"This petition is a call for the EU to stop letting GE in through the back door of Europe and onto our plates through a loophole in the law," said Marco Contiero of Greenpeace European Unit. "We will be asking Commissioner Kyprianou today, when we deliver the million signatures, to grant citizens the right to choose for themselves whether to eat food from animals fed with GE feed."

Over 90 percent of GE crops imported into the EU are soya and maize destined for animal feed. The diet of farm animals in Europe is typically composed of up to 30 percent GE crops. This amounts to 20 million tonnes of GE crops entering the EU food chain each year without consumers being told.

EU citizens want this legal loophole to be closed and all food products derived from GE to be correctly labelled. One million people are waiting for the EU to give them the right to choose what food they want to eat.

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