Ian Hudghton, SNP Member of the European Parliament, has welcomed decisions taken by MEPs in Strasbourg to toughen up labelling and traceability rules on genetically modified food and feed.

The new labelling scheme now means that products such as oil and sugar, which under the current rules do not have to be labelled, will now be covered. And crucially, the new rules also give Member States the right to adopt measures to prevent GM contamination of conventional and organic crops. Speaking from his office in Strasbourg today, Mr Hudghton said:

"This really is good news for European consumers who increasingly want to know just exactly what theyíre buying and eating. Under the old rules some products, although produced from 100 per cent GM raw materials, did not have to be labelled as such meaning that consumers may have unwittingly been buying GM. Now all GM food will have to be labelled whether the genetic modification is detectable in the final product or not. Although the labelling threshold of 0.9% is higher than I would have wished, todayís decisions are a step in the right direction.

"Of critical importance to Scots meat producers is that mandatory labelling will apply to animal feed products, enabling producers to avoid GM and ensure that our meat products can be kept GM free.

"I am delighted that the new Regulations permit Member States to require GM producers and users to take steps to prevent contamination of other products. I would urge the Scottish Executive to get to work on how this might be implemented in Scotland right away. At a time when Europe is under increasing US pressure to license more GM crops, we need to be doing everything we can to protect Scotland's good name for producing high quality agricultural produce. This is the only way to ensure long-term freedom of choice for consumers."

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