Archived news articles - 2000

The Straits Times Forum Page, 25 May 2000
By Billy Chew, for Permanent Secretary
Ministry of the Environment

Singapore will follow global guidelines on GM labelling

PLEASE refer to the letter, "Labelling modified food a help to consumers", from Mr Paul Chan Wei Chuan and Mr Robin Smith (ST, May 22).

ENV, together with the Genetic Modification Advisory Committee, reviews the issue of the labelling of GM food regularly.

It has decided that, being an importing country, it is prudent that Singapore's requirements on labelling GM food should be in line with the recommended international guidelines to be established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

At a meeting in Canada from May 5 to 9, the commission's Codex Committee on Food Labelling discussed recommendations for the labelling of GM foods.

No decision on the recommendations has been made yet.

We would also like to assure Mr Chan, Mr Smith and your readers that ENV will continue to ensure the safety of food sold in Singapore.

All GM food products, besides being accepted by many developed countries, must be proven to be safe by the competent national regulatory bodies of the exporting countries before their import is allowed.

For example, genetically modified soya bean and corn, which have been approved in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and member countries of the European Union, are, very likely, incorporated into various processed foods.

Since we import food from these countries, it is possible that such foods are sold here. These foods are safe for consumption.

We thank Mr Chan and Mr Smith for their comments.

Copyright @ 2000 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.