‘Trialogue’ negotiations between the European Parliament and Council on EU legislation on novel foods, which has included a crucial debate on clone food, ended last night with no agreement. The Greens have consistently argued for a ban on food from clones and their descendents to be included in the legislation, a position that was supported by a cross-political majority in the European Parliament. After the negotiations, Green MEP Bart Staes said:
“The sheer obstinacy of member state governments in Council and their refusal to even discuss a ban on clone food has lead to eleventh hour deadlock in the negotiations on EU rules on novel foods. There is overwhelming public concern about food from clones and their descendants (1), and a clear majority of the European Parliament has voted for the introduce a ban on clone food in response to these concerns (2). However, Council is simply putting its fingers in its ears; a blocking minority is even preventing any debate on labelling requirements.
“It is crucial that the descendents of clones are also covered, as it is ultimately these descendents, and not the original clones, that will be used for food production. The Council’s claims that there are no animal welfare concerns resulting to the offspring of clones is ludicrous and flies in the face of the evidence. The EP will continue to work to defend consumers’ interests, with further negotiations on this legislation having now been hastily scheduled.”
Green MEP Satu Hassi added:
“The European Commission has also played an inglorious role in these negotiations. It has been proactively pushing EU member states to resist any ban on clone food, even though its role under the treaties should only be to ‘facilitate’ negotiations. It is highly regrettable that the Commission is more concerned with the interests of its trading partners in third countries and their niche industry, than the will of the majority of EU citizens. We will continue to work to ensure an agreement on this legislation that reflects the concerns of EU citizens, ahead of the final deadline on 29 March, with more negotiations scheduled for next week.”
(1) A large majority of EU citizens are concerned about out animal cloning and food from clones: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/resources/docs/eurobarometer_cloning_sum_en.pdf
(2) A cross-political majority of the European Parliament voted to support a ban on food from clones and their descendants in the 2nd reading vote.
The Greens/European Free Alliance press release 17.3.2011