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Brussels, 29 March 2011

Statement by Commissioner Dalli on the lack of agreement in the conciliation procedure on the Novel Food Regulation

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Early this morning, after more than 11 hours of negotiations, and despite all the efforts made by the Commission in its role of mediator between the Parliament and the Council, an agreement could not be reached on the long awaited Novel Food Regulation.

Expectations were high since the Regulation had to be revised to take into account the latest developments on a number of important issues.

Actually after months of discussion, many improvements had been agreed upon by the institutions on key novel food aspects.

These included :

  • legal definition of nano-materials and their mandatory labelling,

  • a centralised and quicker authorisation procedure to facilitate innovation from the food industry and

  • specific measures for traditional foods from third countries.

If implemented this would have been beneficial for both consumers and the food industry.

It is thus a great pity that we have lost the opportunity to codify these aspects already now.

Let me recall that the Novel Food regulation has been on the table since 2008. In an effort to move forward with this important legislative proposal, the Commission proposed to deal with the issue of cloning separately. As a result, the Commission delivered on its engagement and published a report on Cloning in October 2010.

My proposals contained in this report were clear. I undertook to propose :

  • a temporary suspension of the cloning technique for food production in the EU,

  • a ban on import of clones and

  • traceability of reproductive material from cloned animals.

Since that report, and as a result of negotiations with both the European Parliament and the Council, including throughout last night, several further steps were agreed with respect to labelling.

I remain convinced that the only way to guarantee a good deal for EU consumers and food business operators is to deliver a proposal that is based on common sense and one that is both practicable and enforceable including on the issue of labelling.

I will reflect on the disappointing outcome in view of assessing the next steps both with respect to the novel food Regulation and the follow-up to the Commission's report of October on the issue of Cloning in food production.

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