[Market-farming] Green onions and safe food

Jill Taylor Bussiere jdt at itol.com
Wed Nov 26 09:16:52 EST 2003

As we talk about raising safe, local food, read below, especially in light
of the green onion induced illnesses - it has been difficult/impossible to
trace where a health/safety problem is originating.  Note the folks below
and which organizations are working towards safe food, and which are looking
for profits and increased markets without regard to safety.
X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 10:55:57 +0100
From: "Stephen Emmott" <semmott at europarl.eu.int>
Cc: <ajgoeke at igc.org>
Subject: WTO GMO Dispute:US lobbyists press USTR to start new complaint

>From Inside US Trade Report
November 25, 2003

The Honorable Robert Zoellick
United States Trade Representative
600 17 th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20508

Dear Ambassador Zoellick:
On October 18, 2003, regulations were published in the Official Journal of
the European Union (EU) establishing new requirements for the traceability
and labeling of food and feed products and safety assessments for food and
feed produced through biotechnology. These requirements are non-tariff trade
barriers that violate World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations and will
result in significant losses to the U.S. food and agriculture industry. The
undersigned organizations urge you to take immediate action to prevent
further disruption of U.S. agricultural commodity and food product exports
to the EU resulting from these regulations.
The new regulations clearly violate the EU's WTO obligations. The Sanitary
and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade agreements (TBT)
require that import restrictions not discriminate between imported and
domestic products and not be overly restrictive to trade. The SPS agreement
also requires that any measures which have the effect of restricting trade
must be based on scientific principles. The
new EU regulations are not consistent with these provisions and clearly
discriminate against imported products. In addition, the requirements would
set a precedent for process-based traceability and labeling that could
create potentially insurmountable technical barriers to trade and discourage
adoption and acceptance of new technologies, including biotechnology, around
the globe.
Products of modern biotechnology must undergo intensive scientific and
regulatory review before being approved to enter the EU market, and the EU
has not identified any science-based risks associated with approved biotech
products. Despite this, the regulations use the "Precautionary Principle"
and other non-science based factors to justify the implementation of costly
and trade-restrictive traceability and labeling
requirements. The United States Government consistently has opposed the use
of such criteria for restricting trade and must challenge EU regulations
that embody these concepts.
Finally, it is important that the Administration challenge the EU's new
regulations in anticipation that other countries will come under pressure to
adopt similar requirements and restrictions. Just as a number of other large
importers subsequently adopted biotech labeling policies after the EU
enacted its first labeling regulation, influence will be exerted for other
countries to adopt trade-restrictive traceability and discriminatory,
process-based labeling regimes. Further, international organizations
such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission will have license to adopt similar
requirements as global standards. U.S. agricultural commodity and food
exports will be very negatively affected by these developments.
The U.S. government must take every possible action to confront these
trade-distorting policies and prevent further erosion of U.S. agriculture
and food export markets in the EU and other countries. Now that the EU's
regulations have been finalized, we believe it is time to engage the EU in a
WTO dispute settlement proceeding, and we urge that you initiate such action
immediately. In addition, a review of the impact these requirements will
have on U.S. agricultural commodity and food exports by the International
Trade Commission should be requested to quantify economic losses to U.S.
farmers, exporters, and food companies.
Our organizations appreciate your strong support of biotechnology and pledge
our assistance to help you address this critical issue.

American Farm Bureau Federation
American Feed Industry Association
American Meat Institute
American Seed Trade Association
American Soybean Association
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Corn Refiners Association
CropLife America
Grocery Manufacturers of America
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Corn Growers Association
National Cotton Council
National Grain and Feed Association
National Food Processors Association
National Grain Trade Council
National Oilseed Processors Association
National Renderers Association
North American Millers Association
U.S. Grains Council
USA Rice
Wheat Export Trade Education Committee
cc: The Honorable Ann Veneman

More information about the Market-farming mailing list