Dáil Éireann - Volume 637 - 05 July, 2007
Written Answers. - Genetically Modified Organisms.
Deputy Eamon Gilmore Deputy Eamon Gilmore
Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason, at the 2812th Environment Council meeting of 28 June 2007 in Luxembourg, he failed to vote alongside the Belgian, Greek, Hungarian, and Italian delegations against the draft regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, which did not take up the European Parliament’s amendment No.171 of 22 May 2007, to Article 17(3) of the Commission’s original proposal, which sought to prevent products from being labelled organic if they contained genetically modified organisms, unless they had been contaminated accidentally and even then only up to a threshold of 0.1%, compared to a 0.9% threshold in the Commission’s original proposal. [19396/07]
Deputy John Gormley Deputy John Gormley
Deputy John Gormley: The political decision on the item referred to in the question was taken at the Agriculture Council on 12 June 2007 following the conclusion of the Council debate on it. It relates to the labelling of organic food, which comes under the remit of the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Under EU procedures, all political decisions are subject to further legal and other processes and, when these are complete, come to the next available Council for formal adoption. These so-called ‘A-List’ items are not the subject of further discussion as they are outside the remit of the Environment Ministers. For example, the Environment Council of 28 June also formally adopted decisions on matters such as trade policy, security policy, fisheries and the EU budget.
As Ireland had not opposed the political decision on this specific issue at the Agriculture Council, it would not have been within the remit to have opposed its formal adoption at the Environment Council. The countries that did so were simply confirming the position they had taken previously at the Agriculture Council.
 I set out my opposition to GMOs very clearly at the Environment Council when I led the support for Austria’s statement on the need to address the safety concerns raised in relation to genetically modified maize.
Dáil Éireann 637 Written Answers. Genetically Modified Organisms.