Mowlam promises tougher GM rules

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The Independent Online

Mo Mowlam, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, has pledged to reform the "haphazard" labelling system for genetically modified foods at the launch of a new government website on GM crops.

Mo Mowlam, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, has pledged to reform the "haphazard" labelling system for genetically modified foods at the launch of a new government website on GM crops.

Ms Mowlam said the Government was committed to introducing "common sense" in the debate over GM foods and was working hard in Europe to tighten regulations on labelling. She was speaking at the launch at an Internet shop in central London of the website - www.gm-info.gov.uk.

Ms Mowlam said the Government was using information provided through the Internet to combat fears about GM foods. She added: "At the moment, labelling is pretty haphazard and we want to work with the retail and business sectors and the consumer groups to get a system that the consumers feel happy with and which is scientifically meaningful and people buy into."

The Government has already introduced labelling rules for GM foods sold by retailers, caterers and restaurants. Early next year, new rules on labelling of additives and flavourings will be introduced. The Food Standards Agency, which is due to be up and running next year, will also work on food labelling, including GM products.

In an article in The Express newspaper, Ms Mowlam said the Government had created one of the toughest regulatory systems in the world for GM foods. She wrote: "If Elizabethan England had the sort of regulatory system we have now, there is no way the potato would ever have been introduced into this country."

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