08/09/04 - The law would apply to maize and oilseed rape, the only twobiotech crops authorized in Europe. Batches of conventional seeds with GMOmaterial below a threshold level wouldn't have to be labeled.
The biotech industry argues a low threshold would be too restrictiveand it is pushing for as high a level as possible - above 0.7%.
Environmental groups fear setting the bar too high could compromiseEurope's ability to provide GMO-free foods. They want the threshold to beset as low as possible - no higher than 0.1%.
The seed tussle underlines once again Europe's nervousness about GMOs.E.U. governments remain deadlocked over the issue and have backed awayfrom approving new applications for the last six years.
But the E.U. Commission had long urged an end to the de factomoratorium, saying strict new traceability and labeling rules that wentinto effect earlier this year provide adequate protection for consumers.
The executive recently overruled E.U. governments by approving ontothe market a modified strain of sweetcorn, grown mainly in the U.S.Another herbicide-resistant corn was approved for animal feed last month.
Europe also is coming under pressure from major trading partners. TheU.S. government is suing the E.U. at the World Trade Organization in a bidto force Europe lift its barriers against GMOs. The WTO is expected torule on this next year.