European Parliament supports SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard's report on novel foods

25 March 2009

European Parliament supports SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard's report on novel foods

The European Commission should, according to the European Parliament, introduce a ban on meat and milk from cloned animals. In addition, the Parliament has demanded clearer definitions regarding nano-particles in food, and the imposition of an obligation to state on foodstuff labels whether the product contains 'novel foods', or is a product of animals fed on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Kartika LiotardThe European Parliament today voted on the report from SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard on novel foods. Liotard describes the vote as 'a huge success', especially in view of the opposition from the European Commission. "The Commission repeatedly puts economic interests first," she says. "But the European Parliament agrees with me that priority must be given to food safety and to the wellbeing of the public."

Liotard adds that "in the EU there's always talk of the environment and of animal welfare. But there's absolutely no consideration given to these matters in the Commission proposal. That's why I proposed that the environmental impact and animal welfare should play a role in the procedure for allowing novel foods on to the market. The European Parliament supported this as well.

"This is about foodstuffs that have never been placed on the market before. The regulation must state precisely what 'novel foods' are. The food industry does a great deal in the way of innovation. But both the industry and the consumer have an interest in seeing that foodstuffs are safe. The use of nanoparticles in foodstuffs has enjoyed an enormous boom, yet very few consumers know about this. Just look at energy drinks, food supplements or packaging materials. In these instances there are as yet no uniform safety laws, and for this reason these products have not been tested for possible heath risks. So it's extremely important that these new techniques and new technologies come under the novel foods regulation. What's needed is a clear definition, one which if necessary can be adapted as science and technology progress." The European Parliament, once again, supported this point.

The European Commission wanted meat and milk from cloned animals to be included under 'novel foods'. "This is unacceptable,"Liotard insists. "The cloning of animals causes enormous suffering. Only a small percentage of the clones prove viable and their birth must much too frequently be performed by Caesarian." The Commission, she says, evades the ethical aspects of the cloning of animals for food. "No public debate has as yet occurred on the desirability of this. Including products from cloned animals in the novel foods regulation would mean, indirectly at least, that we find these practices acceptable. I am arguing therefore for a ban on placing foods from cloned animals on the European market. The European Parliament supported my proposals for a ban, and I'm pleased that such meat will not be finding its way on to our plates."

Liotard added that she was "extremely pleased with the result of the vote. The European Parliament has expressed its political will and sent a powerful message to the European Commission and the Council of Ministers that meat from cloned animals does not belong on our tables, that we must have clarity regarding nanoparticles in foods before problems arise and that the consumer, and not the market, must be the priority for European legislation on food safety."

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