A few weeks back a leaked memo showed talks had taken place between British ministers and senior officials in the Bush administration over EU-wide plans on the labelling of GM ingredients.
According to the Independent on Sunday (item 2), "A leaked record of discussions at the highest level of the Bush administration shows that the proposals for an EU directive on labelling GM food are causing concern in the President's inner circle of most trusted advisers."
The leaked memo also indicated that the US wanted Britain "to make the US case in the EU", provoking speculation that the US intended Britain to play "its usual role as a Trojan horse for US interests inside the EU."
Now, guess what.... (see item 1)
Clearly, for Tony Blair standing shoulder to shoulder means a whole lot more than just talking up war, causing a humanitarian crisis, inflaming the opposition, and signalling your willingness to let your country serve as a surrogate target for disenchanted mass murderers.
1. BLAIR bars CLEARER GM FOOD LABELLING
2. US may provoke row over GM food labelling
1. BLAIR BARS CLEARER GM FOOD LABELLING
Independent on Sunday, 30 September 2001
Severin Carrell and Geoffrey Lean
Tony Blair has rejected European plans to introduce labelling rules which would restrict the sale of genetically modified foods. The Prime Minister has ordered his officials to block moves by the European Commission which would require all foods, cooking oils and animal feeds to state whether or not they contain traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The commission claims that strict labelling and product testing is needed to restore consumer confidence in food safety and in GM technologies.
But the proposals, in a draft directive from David Byrne, the consumer safety commissioner, and Franz Fischler, the agriculture commissioner, have been rejected by the Government's Food Standards Agency (FSA) as unworkable, unscientific and highly costly.
The dispute has led to a deep split in the Cabinet. It is understood the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs backed the proposals but was overruled by Downing Street and the Department of Trade and Industry, which heavily support the biotechnoology industry.
The Government now faces a direct clash with Brussels, which is determined to defend the proposals and has begun lobbying heavily for them to be accepted by EU members. Mr. Fischler and Mr. Byrne have called on member states to show "political leadership" over GMOs by supporting their robust proposals. "The choice I want to give Europe's consumers is very simple: 'I can choose whether or not to buy food produced from a GMO'," Mr. Byrne said.
But the FSA claims the plan would cost industry at least £825 million a year and was opposed by environmental health officers because of their cost and complexity.
The FSA has told the commission it wants to retain the current labelling rules, where only foods known to contain more than 1 % GM ingredients are labelled, but added that a labelling scheme for certified GM-free products could also be introduced.
US may provoke row over GM food labelling
By Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent
14 August 2001
America and Europe are heading for a damaging dispute over European Union plans to label imported food that has been contaminated by genetically modified crops.
A leaked memo recording talks between British ministers and senior officials in the Bush administration shows America is furious at EU-wide plans to insist that all food containing more than 1 per cent GM ingredients be labelled with the fact.
The memo shows that Washington, under pressure from GM crop growers, is considering challenging the EU plans under world trade law and wants Britain to make the US case in the EU.
A leaked record of discussions at the highest level of the Bush administration shows that the proposals for an EU directive on labelling GM food are causing concern in the President's inner circle of most trusted advisers.
The document records discussions involving Dylan Glenn, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the White House.
It shows that Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, encountered American opposition to the GM plans on her first trade visit to America shortly after taking office last month.
The leaked document records a conversation between Alan Larson, the US Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and Mrs Hewitt in late July. The memo shows that Ms Hewitt said Britain favours giving consumers the right to choose whether to buy GM crops through clear labelling. She told America that consumers had concerns over GM food.
"Larson told Mrs Hewitt on 24 July that he feared that the proposals on traceability and labelling would be inconsistent with WTO rules on national treatment and would establish a separate regime with no basis in science or fact," the memo says.
"This could effectively block $4bn [£2.8bn] of US exports to Europe and would undermine, not reinforce, efforts to restore public confidence in agricultural biotechnology. Mrs Hewitt explained the strength of public views and EU consumers' demand for the right to make their own decisions on the basis of labelling."
The rules will mean that conventional crops that become contaminated by neighbouring GM crops would have to be labelled.
Environmental groups seized on the memo, saying that it showed Britain was being pressured by America to water down the EU proposals.
"This leak shows how much pressure the US is now putting on the British Government to back its move to force GM products into the European market," said Carol Kearney of Friends of the Earth.
"President Bush obviously hopes that Britain will play its usual role as a Trojan horse for US interests inside the EU."