Finnish ministers stir up GM meat debate
In the interests of consumer rights, Finnish politicians are encouraging a
debate over labelling of meat products from animals fed with genetically
Under European Union regulations meat from animals fed imported GM feed
does not need to be labelled as GM and the feed origin does not need to be
But when, this month, two
Finnish meat producers, LSO Foods and Lounais-farmi, declared their intention to
import GM soybeans for use as pig feed, agriculture minister Sirkka-Liisa
Anttilahat of the Suomen Keskusta party called on the food industry to label use
of GM feed on meat products.
"Consumers must have the right to know
how, and with what sort of feed, meat is produced,"
The minister has also mooted the idea of a working group to address
labelling of meat from animals not
raised on genetically modified feed,
amongst other issues. Economical reasons
Many Finns do not
approve the use of GM feed, according to a recently held survey. However the
meat companies' decision to shift to GM soy is understandable from a financial
point of view.
There is already a gulf between the cost of non-GM
and GM soy, and that gulf is continuing to grow as more and more soy producers
in Brazil switch to GM varieties. No isolated
According to Finland's Central Union of Agricultural Producers
and Forest Owners (MTK) support voluntary labelling of food products to indicate
any use of GM products in the production chain.
But they added that
such a measure could not be taken by Finland in isolation from the rest of the
EU, since it would put domestic produce at a significant disadvantage to
unlabelled imports. For now, however, a pan-EU change looks unlikely.
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