Transgenic Label Dispute Continues

April 21, 2006

Government authorities remain divided about the need for labels to identify transgenic, or genetically modified, products, the daily La República reported.

Although no law exists requiring the Costa Rican food industry to label transgenic products, a bill is under review in the Legislative Assembly that could require this, as well as an indication of the amount of transgenic content.

“I’m not in favor or against these products, but I think it is our right to know what we are consuming,” said Joyce Zürcher, legislator for the National Liberation Party and promoter of the bill. Zürcher explained her position is prompted by the international lack of knowledge about the impact of genetically modified foods on people.

However, the Food Industry Chamber, which admits GMO products are sold in the country, disagrees.

“Transgenic products exist in the market, but they do not represent any threat. No health damage has been proven and it could actually be risky to inform consumers (about transgenic content) because this could affect business,” Luis Arturo Quirós, president of the chamber, told the daily. Vice-Minister of Health Francisco Cubillo agreed.

“It is not convenient to create a panic, or to scare anyone, while the scientific information that is available reveals they (genetically altered products) are innocuous.

If a certain product was risky to our health, it would not be for sale,” he said. No study exists in Costa Rica to establish which imports contain transgenic elements, La República reported.

 

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