"EU regulations must guarantee full traceability and labelling of NGTs throughout the supply chain"
Eight major German and Austrian supermarkets have written an open letter to MEPs on the ENVI and AGRI committees regarding the European Commission's new GMO (new genomic techniques or NGTs) deregulation proposal, warning that they must not jeopardise:
* Consumer choice
* Organic farming, and
* Food price stability.
The supermarkets, which include Rewe and Spar, write, "According to numerous national and pan- European market surveys, a significant number of consumers are very opposed to genetically modified crops in their food.
"We want to continue to give these consumers full freedom of choice. To ensure this, EU regulations must guarantee full traceability and labelling of NGTs throughout the supply chain to ensure the continued existence of NGT-free and organic agriculture and food production. Binding coexistence measures... are also essential to this end."
In a reference to the patented status of all GMOs and the technologies used in making them, the supermarkets add: "The unclear legal situation with regard to patentability should be comprehensively examined in advance in an impact assessment before such a far-reaching legal act becomes European law."
The companies end the letter with the demands that "Clear and workable rules on transparency and traceability are needed so that NGT-free foods can continue to be produced, labelled and sold as such"; and "Prior to any new regulation of genetic engineering law, the consequences, in particular the effects on costs and prices, of patents on genetically modified seeds and plants must be analysed and discussed in the context of a thorough impact assessment. Where appropriate, legal adjustments to patent law are desirable."