Fabian Demicoli

Proposal amending rules on status of pollen in honey


The proposal for a directive to amend
rules on honey (Council Directive 2001/110/EC) to clarify the nature of pollen
was adopted by the European Commission last week. In the proposal pollen are
defined as a natural constituent of honey and not as an ingredient (in line
with international WTO standards) and therefor EU labelling rules requiring a
list of ingredients would not apply.

After amendment of the directive GMO
legislation will remain fully applicable to honey containing GM pollen. Honey
containing GM pollen can be placed on the market only if it is covered by an
authorisation under the legislation. Furthermore, the labelling rules on GMO in
food will also be applicable: Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 states the presence
of material containing, consisting of produced from authorised GMOs in food
shall be labelled except where that presence does not exceed 0,9% of each
ingredient.

Background

This issue arose in the context of a
challenge by a German beekeeper on the legal status of honey when his honey was
found to contain pollen of MON 810 genetically modified maize. The German Court
referred the case to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. On
6 September 2011, the European Court of Justice issued its judgement where it
indicated that: a) the previous understanding of the scope of GMO legislation
was wrong (this legislation was fully applicable to GM pollen in honey) and b)
that pollen in honey was to be considered as an ingredient.

 

 

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