E.U. Commission warns 12 members to adopt GMO rule

by Emily Buckley
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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The European Commission has warned 12 E.U. member states over their failure to implement key legislation on genetically modified organisms and the environment.

The Commission sent out "reasoned opinions" to these countries, warning that if they did not implement the legislation within the next two months, the Commission had the option of taking a case to the European Court of Justice.

The Directive in question, 2001/18/EC, concerns the authorization procedures for GMOs, establishes principles for environmental risk assessment of GMOs and has requirements for labeling.

So far only the U.K., Denmark and Sweden have implemented the Directive into their national legislation. The remaining 12 countries — France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Finland — have not yet adopted the order.

There is no legislative link between Directive 2001/18/EC and current proposals on traceability and labeling and feed-food controls. The countries supporting the so-called de facto moratorium on GMOs, notably France and Italy, argue that they will lift the moratorium once these traceability and feed-food control proposals have been adopted.

In the interim, these countries have failed to implement the Directive, which is required for adopting new GMO varieties in their countries.