MOSCOW, November 14 (Sputnik) – The free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union (EU) could undermine the EU's right to label genetically modified food, Spiegel magazine says citing a confidential report obtained from the Scientific Service of the German Parliament.
Specifically, the scientific experts warn the EU would "risk lawsuits from the United States or Canada" if it decides to label food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO), as the forthcoming EU-US and EU-Canada deals imply common labelling principles for consumer goods.
The GMO regulations in the United States and Canada are far less stringent than in Europe, with genetically modified corn and soybeans dominating the markets. US and Canadian regulations do not require producers inform consumers of GMO ingredients in food. If the EU opts to stick to its own policy, this could "run against the international commitments of the EU and its member states regarding TTIP and CETA agreements," the German experts elaborate.
According to Spiegel, the German government in its coalition agreement agreed to work toward more detailed information on food labels, including GMO. But Germany will be unable to do so because it needs the approval of all EU states, which are now under pressure from the US, the magazine states.
The EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are the ambitious initiatives aiming to open markets between the EU and the US and between the EU and Canada, respectively, to allow the easier flow of goods and services across the Atlantic. CETA was signed in September and is currently pending approval by the European Parliament, while the TTIP deal, negotiated in January, is still under debate.
According to the GMO Compass website, the majority of Europeans remain opposed to GMO and under the current European framework all EU members have the right to restrict GMO cultivation in their country.