German coalition 'would roll out tougher meat labelling'

28th November 2013 - Fine Cut

A new coalition government in Germany would seek tougher regulations across the European Union (EU) for the labelling of meat from farm animals that have been fed genetically modified (GM) produce.

If the alliance is formed, Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats would propose an EU labelling duty for items from animals that have been fed plants that have been sprayed with chemicals.

A document seen by news agency Reuters said the parties  - which started a decisive week of talks over the future of Germany on Monday (November 25th) - would need to have the proposal agreed and approved by the EU in a lengthy process.

If the new regulations are passed, the labels would have a significant impact on the production of livestock. Some industry experts have suggested that many European consumers could be reluctant to purchase GMO-fed meat.

At the moment, most soybean animal feed - which is primarily imported from the US and South America - contains modified produce, while other domestically-grown animal does not.

However, a new coalition would retain the policy of zero-tolerance for non-approved substances in human food.

A decision is also expected in the future regarding whether Germany will make use of possible new EU rules to enable countries to prevent farmers from growing genetically-modified crops - even if they had been approved for cultivation at EU level.

Ilse Aigner, former German minister for agriculture, has taken a tough stance against the use of GM cultivation. However, she has not been a part of the government since the last election when she returned to local politics.

The document produced by the country's political parties said the coalition would launch a new initiative to improve the welfare of farm animals, while restrictions on the use of antibiotics on farm animals will be agreed before the election.

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