Global regs a trade threat?

Proposals for new international requirements on biotech-enhanced products pose a significant threat to global trade in food, beverages and other consumer products, warns the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA).

In a letter to President Bill Clinton, GMA said some governments are attempt-ing to expand the scope of the Biosafety Protocol to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. At stake is potentially burdensome labeling requirements on a wide variety of products, including everything from crackers, cheese and frozen foods to household cleaners and soaps. If ratified, companies would be required to notify the countries to whom bio-enhanced products were being shipped, seek separate approval from each country, subject products to testing by each country, and provide special labeling on any food or beverage product. According to GMA, such labeling requirements could violate existing trading rights protected by UN agreements and would lend support to efforts within the European Union to create new trade barriers.

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