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Brussels, 22 March 2005

Commission confirms quality of European GMO legislative framework

Today the European Commission took stock of the EU legislative framework on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). During the debate, the Commission confirmed its full confidence in the existing regulatory framework on GMOs, one of the strictest in the world, which provides for a high level of scientific assessment and at the same time safeguards the consumers’ right to choose. The Commission concluded that it would continue to comply fully with its legal obligations and proceed with the approval of pending authorisations as appropriate. While continuing to fulfil the responsibilities imposed on it by the EU legislative framework, the Commission has reflected on the need to develop consensus between all interested parties.

Over the past four years, the EU has put in place a stringent system to regulate genetically modified food, feed and crops. The authorisation procedure under this new system ensures that only GMOs which are safe for human and animal consumption and for release into the environment can be placed on the European market. Clear labelling rules allow farmers, other users and consumers to choose whether or not to purchase such products.

Individual authorisations are granted following scientific evaluation on a case by case basis. Requests for authorisations which do not fulfil all criteria have been and will continue to be rejected.

The Commission will fulfil its responsibilities in the establishment of labelling thresholds and, on the implementation of co-existence measures, it will reflect on possible further steps on the basis of a report to be finalised by the end of this year concerning the experience gained in the Member States.

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