The Codex Alimentarius Commission, a wide group comprising the world’s food safety agencies, announced this week a sudden breakthrough that will for the first time allow individual nations the right to enact labeling laws on genetically engineered foods without the prospect of facing litigation from the World Trade Organization (WTO) that enforces international trade obligations.
In a stunning reversal, the U.S. Delegation of the Commission, after 20 years of dogged refusal, removed their opposition to allow GM labeling as a right of nations to pursue. As a result, GM labeling rights are now written into the Commission’s Codex Agreement, providing a legal standard that will shield any nation that enacts GM labeling requirements from retaliatory action by the World Trade Organization.
“We are particularly pleased that the new guidance recognizes that GM labeling is justified as a tool for post market monitoring. This is one of the key reasons we want all GM foods to be required to be labelled – so that if consumers eat modified foods, they will be able to know and report to regulators if they have an allergic or other adverse reaction.”
—Dr. Michael Hansen, Consumers Union
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