Codex Alimentarius, the international food safety advisory body, defines GMOs as: “genetically engineered/modified organisms and products thereof, produced through techniques in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination”. Consumer groups, the organic food industry and other interest groups have pointed out that the long-term health and environmental effects of GMOs are unknown and potentially irreversible.
Labeling of GMO products
Codex has resolved a twenty-year debate by deciding to permit voluntary labeling indicating the presence of GMOs, after the US delegation dropped its objections on winning the concession that “foods derived from modern biotechnology are not necessarily different from other foods simply due to their method of production”. Codex has issued new guidelines that will allow countries to adopt the labeling of GMO products without a risk of legal challenge from the World Trade Organization (WTO), because national measures based on Codex standards cannot be challenged for mounting a barrier to trade.
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