Brazil: Multinationals’ Pressure Delays Transgenics’ Labeling Tilll 2012

Until 2012 exports and imports among the Cartagena Biosecurity Protocol signatory nations will not be obliged to carry labels identifying genetically modified grains. This identification will depend on each country’s technical capabilities.

The agreement was reached Friday night, March 17, at the conclusion of the 3rd Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Biosecurity Protocol (MOP-3), which began on Monday, March 13, in Curitiba, in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná.

"This decision reflects a situation in which these international decision-making arenas are increasingly dominated by the power that transnational companies have over countries," contends Maria Rita Reis, legal advisor of the non-governmental organization, Land of Rights, which took part in the meeting.

Representatives of Mexico and Paraguay were the only ones among the 96 signatory nations to oppose the labeling of products with either the expression "contains" or "may contain" with respect to the presence of transgenics. Mexico buys around 3 million tons of genetically modified corn, annually, from the United States.

Reis informed that among signatory countries in which there are already separate supply chains for transgenics and non-transgenics, the expression "contains" will be used from now on to label international shipments. When shipments are between signatories and non-signatories, she said, the expression "may contain" will probably be used.

"The final decision on the use of the expression "contains" was left for the MOP-6, the meeting scheduled for 2012," she added.

ABr

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