Nestlé is to label products which may contain genetically modified (GM) soya as “modified by modern biotechnology” and has hit out at the European Commission’s delay in issuing guidelines on the matter.
The company, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of food, has decided to use this, the Dutch interpretation of EC rulings, on the labelling of GM soya (MW July 17).
In May, the EC passed legislation saying modified ingredients which are “no longer equivalent to their conventional counterparts” are to be labelled. But no official indication has been given yet on whether this regulation will be applied to ingredients derived from Roundup Ready soya, the GM soya engineered by US company Monsanto.
There was an outcry from environmental pressure groups when it was imported into Europe last year, leading to it being dubbed “Frankenfood”, after Frankenstein.
They were concerned that a genetically modified ingredient used as the base for so many foods was being introduced in a way that would not allow consumers to choose whether or not to eat it.
Nestlé group biotechnology co-ordinator Claus Conzelmann says the new labelling should appear on frozen food products – which in the UK is predominantly the Findus range – within the next 12 months.
Nestlé accuses the EC of failing to give concrete instructions on labelling of GM food and creating trade barriers within the European Union.
Nestlé says it will review its policy as soon as uniform labelling rules are agreed for the European Union.