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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

MEP Votes Undermine Cameron on Food Labels

Immediate release (8 Jul 2010)

Calls to Pete Riley 0845 217 8992.

GM Freeze has written to Prime Minister David Cameron asking for clarification on his policy and approach to GM food labelling after an answer he gave in the House of Commons was undermined by Conservative MEP votes in the EU Parliament on the same day.

During yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions Mr Cameron replied to a question about agricultural technology [1] by saying:

I know that the honourable Gentleman is a member of the all-party group on science and technology in agriculture. These are difficult issues, but my view is that we should be guided by the science. We should also be guided by what consumers want, and it is vital that we have accurate labelling. That will really be the key to ensuring that we make progress with this issue in a way that keeps the public on side and allows them to understand what it is that they are buying and consuming.

On the same day the European Parliament voted on legislation that would have required GM labels on meat, dairy products, fish and eggs from GM-fed animals.

The amendment to the Novel Food Regulations failed to gain the required overall majority vote because, in part, 23 Conservative MEPs voted against. [2]

The Conservative Party Manifesto strongly supported clear labelling on GM derived products. [3]

GM Freeze asked the Prime Minister today:

In light of this disappointing result, could you please clarify how your answer to the UK Parliament to give consumers the information they want and to deliver accurate labelling can be delivered when your MEPs voted to prevent this happening on the same day.

Commenting Pete Riley of GM freeze said:

We have written to David Cameron to get some clarification of what the government policy is on GM labelling.

There is massive public support for labels on animal products reared using GM feed. The European Parliament vote failed to reach the threshold that would have closed a major loophole in the GM labelling regulations, partly because Conservative MEPs voted against the amendment.

The public is very clear in their demands, and the onus is now on the government to deliver comprehensive GM labelling for the UK.


[1] Question from Roger Williams MP (see

[2] Novel Food Regulations recommendation 76 – full voting details can be supplied on request.

[3] Page 90 of the Conservative Party Manifesto: “Ensure that consumers have the right to choose non-GM foods through clear labelling” (see