Archived news articles - 2000

GMAC, 13 January 2000

GMAC's position on genetically modified food labelling in Singapore

The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee has to date completed the Singapore Guidelines on the Release of Agriculture-Related GMOs. It is currently looking into the biosafety guidelines for research on GMOs.

Another issue under discussion in several countries presently is whether GM food should be labelled, and if so, what kinds of GM food (eg. mixtures of GM/non-GM food) should be labelled.

The Sub-Committee on Labelling under the GMAC has been working on the issue of labelling of genetically modified food. The Sub-Committee has been researching and considering the developments on GM food labelling in the major countries and at the relevant international organisations.

The issue is a complex one as it involves a consideration of a variety of factors - the scientific distinction between genetically modified and conventional foods, the cost of labelling, the regime of labelling permissible under existing world trading rules, issues of enforcement etc.

So far, there is no clear international direction on the issue. Some countries maintain that as safety evaluation on genetically modified foods is as stringent as on conventional foods, there is no need to make a distinction between them.

The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee had, in its reply to a letter in Jun 1999 from a member of the public, stated that the Sub-Committee on Labelling of Genetically Modified Foods was expected to provide its recommendations in six months time.

In view of the absence of any clear international direction on the matter, the Sub-Committee on Labelling has recommended that it will continue to study world trends on the matter and the background to them and will make its recommendations in due course.

Issued by GMAC

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