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Genetically Modified Organisms

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps the EU is taking to prevent further contamination of EU food and feed chains by unapproved genetically modified organisms; (117048)

(2) what steps her Department is taking to prevent further contamination of UK food and feed chains by unapproved genetically modified organisms;

(3) what steps the Food Standards Agency is taking to prevent further contamination of UK food and feed chains by unapproved genetically modified organisms.

European food law places primary responsibility on food operators to ensure that the food and animal feed that they sell complies with food safety legislation. The European Commission has powers to introduce emergency measures to control the import of potentially contaminated food and feed and has done so in cases where this is necessary, such as following the discovery of unauthorised genetically modified (GM) material in long grain rice from the United States. The Commission also represents the European Union (EU) in discussions with trading partners on issues where there is an agreed EU position, including GM food and feed. The Commission, through its Joint Research Centre (JRC), is also able to provide practical support for laboratories involved in analysing food and feed for unauthorized GM material. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is encouraging the Commission and the JRC to expand this work. At national level, the FSA is responsible for overseeing the food law enforcement activities of local authorities. It also supports local authorities by funding training, providing grants and making other resources available.