Landmark' decision reached on trade in GM products

Curitiba, Brazil March 13th - 17th 2006

News article

In a meeting of the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety hosted in Curitiba, Brazil on March 13th - 17th, 2006, a landmark decision was reachedreached by 132 countries who agreed rules on the international trade in products containing genetically modified (GM) organisms.

The decision says any shipments containing GM organisms must state this, and identify which organisms are present, what their intended use is, and how they have been modified. If it is not possible to identify the GM organisms, shipments must bear a label saying that they "may contain" modified organisms.

Countries that are party to the protocol will have four years to implement the rule. The decision sets out documentation requirements that are clear, meaningful and practical for both exporters and importers of agricultural products.

It provides for legal certainty for the international trade in agricultural commodities. As such, it is a landmark decision that bolsters the role of the Cartagena Protocol.

"shipments containing GM organisms must state this "

Parties to the protocol also agreed to help developing countries by strengthening their ability to implement the protocol.

The protocol is part of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. It is intended to protect biodiversity and human health from the potentially harmful effects of GM products by regulating their international trade.

The next meeting of the parties, in four years' time, will assess how well the labeling rule has been implemented.

Source: SciDev.Net