Thursday, April 11, 2013

After 20 Years, Codex Alimentarius Draft Statement Still No Closer To Allowing GM Food Labeling

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
April 11, 2013

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Over the past few years, I have written extensively on the subject of Codex Alimentarius, particularly on the organization’s guidelines related to Genetically Modified (GM) food. Although I have largely focused on the inferior methodology used by Codex to evaluate the safety of GMOs, much of the safety discussion has been delegated to the Codex Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL), which, up until this point, has tended to focus more on promoting the unscientific claims of GM safety and the proliferation of GM Food as a whole than on actual labeling.

Indeed, the debate over GM food labeling is one that has been raging since 1993, when the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) decided to take up the issue. Only in 2011 did Codex come to some sort of decision in this regard, even though that decision has taken the form of a very vague and open-ended declaration which is still only in its draft stage.

When the CAC decided to examine the issue of GM food labeling, the Codex Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL) was designated as the Codex body to take up the challenge. For close to eighteen years, that body has held continual meetings to no avail (in terms of the labeling issue) as many anti-GMO nations have supported labeling, while the pro-GMO psychosis of nations like the United States and Canada have typically ruled the day due to their active opposition to any and all forms of labeling.

However, in July 2011, the Codex Alimentarius Commission created a “draft proposal of Codex texts” which some have interpreted as allowing for the labeling of GMO food by individual nations. Of course, it is extremely important to note that this decision clearly does not provide for the mandatory labeling of GM food, nor does it make any requirements toward that end.

The new CAC guideline merely implies that a decision may be forthcoming which could possibly, according to Codex Alimentarius and the World Trade Organization (WTO), declare that the labeling of GM Food cannot be considered as an unfair trade practice or unfair barrier to trade. Still, this possibility should only be recognized as just that – a possibility – at this point.

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