EU Planning to Broaden Labeling of Genetically Altered Food.The European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the
European Community (EU) plans to require labeling of most genetically modified genetically modified
(of an organism) having DNA which has been altered for the purpose of improvement or correction of defects
genetically modified genetic adj [food etc] → food products, a move likely to draw fire from U.S. officials who say the EU is flying to protect its agriculture industry. Ella Krucoff, a spokeswoman for the European Commission (EC), the EU's executive branch, said the new laws would be more extensive than those that now require labeling for genetically modified corn and soybeans, and could cover products from tomatoes to cotton.
The rule could turn into a major trade issue as an increasing percentage of U.S. crops contain genetically modified organisms ge·net·i·cal·ly modified organism
n. Abbr. GMO
An organism whose genetic characteristics have been altered by the insertion of a modified gene or a gene from another organism using the techniques of genetic engineering. (GMOs) and Europe is the second-largest export market for U.S. farmers. Labeling the food could frighten European consumers already skittish skit·tish
1. Moving quickly and lightly; lively.
2. Restlessly active or nervous; restive.
3. Undependably variable; mercurial or fickle.
4. Shy; bashful. about buying U.S. beef they fear is pumped with growth hormones, as well as over the safety of poultry and soft drinks.
genetically modified organism seeds allow growers to increase their yields with less cost than traditional seeds because the crops are designed to be pest-resistant. While U.S. officials say there is no proof the food produced from GMO crops is harmful to human health, European officials say there has not been enough research to prove the products are safe.
Additionally, France said it would step up its fight against genetically modified food by asking its EU partners to ban any new marketing of the crops, officials said. Meanwhile, in the United States, a petition drive coordinated by the Natural Law Party is one of the first signs that U.S. consumer support for GMO crops may be wavering. The small party, linked to a group of transcendental meditation Transcendental Meditation, service mark for a religious movement based on Vedanta philosophy, founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Stressing natural meditation and the liberating pleasures such practices could invoke, the movement's meditation method is believed to help advocates in Iowa, said at 500,000 signatures, the petition demonstrates that the issue is important to mainstream America. "We are not calling for a boycott of genetically-engineered foods. We simply want labels on them so consumers can make a choice about what they buy," said the Natural Law Party. "We also want the government to conduct an investigation into the long-term safety of this food."
U.S. farmers, agribusiness and USDA USDA,
n.pr See United States Department of Agriculture. have embraced biotechnology to reduce the amount of pesticides and chemicals used on fields, and to increase the size and quality of crops. This year, more than 60 million acres of the nation's fields will be planted with GMO seeds. Currently, there are 319 million acres dedicated to crops in the United States.