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GMOS/FOOD LABELLING : HONEY DIRECTIVE: ENVI REJECTS COMMISSION'S PROPOSAL.

In a surprise move, the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has rejected the European Commission's proposal to change pollen's status from ingredient' to constituent' of honey. In a close vote (34 in favour and 30 against), on 27 November, the Greens and the Socialists supported by several Christian Democrats adopted an amendment that deleted the wording from a draft report by Julie Girling (ECR, UK) that was in line with the Commission's proposal and replaced it with a new one, according to which pollen should be considered an ingredient. "Unfortunately, the honey sector has become collateral damage in the crusade against GMOs, and as a result the sector is still without legal certainty," Girling said.

At the same time, MEPs adopted a provision granting a derogation so that labelling a list of ingredients is not required for honey. Nevertheless, the labelling rules concerning a threshold for genetically modified (GM) food ingredients will have to apply to pollen. Consequently, the quantity for the application of the 0.9% labelling threshold will need to be calculated as a percentage of the total amount of pollen - which, according to experts, is not technically possible now.

The Commission's proposal for an amendment follows the judgement of September 2011, in which the EU Court of Justice ruled (Bablok) that pollen in honey is considered to be an ingredient within the meaning of Directive 2000/13/EC on the labeling of foodstuffs. One year later, the European Commission proposed a clarification of the directive, suggesting that the status of pollen in honey be changed to being a natural constituent.

Despite the report's adoption, the rapporteur did not request a mandate for negotiating with the Council. The file will be voted on in plenary early next year.

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Title Annotation:genetically modified organisms
Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUBL
Date:Dec 3, 2013
Words:297
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