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Genetic Engineering: E.U. Talks Fail on Food Imports From Clone Offspring - by James Kanter

Marathon talks in Bruxelles aimed at regulating imports into Europe of meat and dairy products from animals bred from clones collapsed Tuesday because of disagreements between governments and the European Parliament over how sweeping the rules should be. 

The failure, while bemoaned by European consumer groups, is likely to be welcomed by farmers in the United States, Brazil, and other countries where cloning for food is gaining ground, as well as by food manufacturers, who will get an open-ended reprieve from any new and potentially costly labeling requirements. Negotiators for European governments accused the Parliament of “political grandstanding” in pushing for unworkable rules “that would have required drawing a family tree for each slice of cheese or salami.” The new rules, the negotiators added, risked setting off a trade war similar to the long-running battle between Europe and the United States over genetically modified crops.

But the Parliament’s negotiators, led in part by a left-wing Dutch lawmaker, Kartika Liotard, insisted on tougher rules for imports and said they were sticking to principles, citing surveys that show European public opinion is overwhelmingly against cloning for food. Ms. Liotard said at a news conference Tuesday that the Parliament’s negotiators already had softened their position from a complete ban on imports to accepting a labeling system. She referred to cloning as “pure animal abuse.” 

The collapse of the talks highlights the growing ability of the European Parliament to influence decision-making in areas like trade and privacy, a rise in influence that has fueled tension with Washington over surveillance of bank transactions to track terrorism suspects.

Note EU-Digest: Regardless of the fact that a majority of the European population does not want genetically modified food, large numbers of lobbyists from the food industry swarming all over Bruxelles are trying to change parliamentarians minds in favor of this unhealthy food, with all the methods available to them and money certainly is no object to get their point across. Europe does not want genetically modified food on their dinner tables and are counting on its political representatives to stop this onslaught by the international industrial food industry.

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