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Pakistan proposes GM food labelling policy

The Pakistani government has decided to introduce labelling that shows whether or not foodstuffs are genetically modified.

There are suggestions that the move is not about the government's own perceptions of food safety, but to offer consumers the choice.

Labelling GM products follows the lead of the European Union, which began the practice in 1997.

Different options for GM food labelling are being considered by stakeholders in Pakistan, according to a concept paper relating to 'Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and Food Labelling.' At this stage it has not been decided whether the labelling will be mandatory - as in the EU - or voluntary, as it is, for example, in Canada.

The worry with mandatory labelling is the costs involved for the producer, which could limit the ability to carry out research.

"Mandatory labelling may be a clear threat to the continued development of bio-technology products and processes. Nevertheless, in the absence of industry action, the government may be pushed by consumers and lobby groups to impose mandatory labelling to ensure firms are held accountable for product-specific uncertainties," concludes the concept paper.


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