|05PARIS645||2005-02-02 11:31:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Paris|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 000645
1. Summary: The focal point for France regarding the
Biosafety Protocol is the Ministry of Ecology. The
Ministries of Agriculture and Economy are also involved in
inter-ministerial discussions. Article 18.2 of the Protocol
is the main obstacle to implementation encountered by
France, which has problems with the "may contain" biotech
labeling language. Also, there are currently inter-
ministerial discussions and consultations with French
industry regarding the type of documentation to accompany
LMO shipments. Exports of LMOs from France are covered by
the European regulation 1946/2003 on biotech cross-border
shipments. Imports of LMOs into France fall under European
regulations 1829/2003 and 1830/2003 (respectively Novel
Food/Novel Feed, and Traceability & Labeling regulations),
and under national measures on non-biotech labeling. In
addition, the GoF is working on national measures for
biotech labeling in the Food Service sector. End Summary.
2. Per Ref A, on January 20, 2005, ESTH and AGR officers
met Berangere Basin (Ministry of Ecology), Christophe
Lepretre and Veronique Laborde (Ministry of Agriculture,
Food, Fisheries and Rural Affairs), and Emmanuelle Miralles
(Fraud Control Office, Ministry of Economy, Finance and
Industry) to discuss the GoF position in Biosafety Protocol
3. The focal point for the French government in the
Biosafety Protocol is the French Ministry of Ecology. Basin
attended the last workshop focusing on Article 18.2 hold in
Bonn in November 2004, while Lepretre attended the Technical
Expert Group meeting focusing on liability and redress, held
in October 2004 in Montreal. The three officials are
expected to attend the second Meeting Of the Parties (MOP-2)
in May/June 2005.
4. Basin indicated that the various Ministries involved in
the discussions on the Biosafety Protocol are discussing
approaches to Article 18.2. As indicated in Ref B, this
Article imposes labeling requirements on shipments that "may
contain" LMOs for food and feed use. Lepretre indicated
that this is a major obstacle for France. According to
Basin, the various French ministries involved in the
Biosafety Protocol are in the process of consultations with
French industry on the type of documentation to accompany
LMO shipments, and there is no clear French position yet.
5. On French exports, Basin explained that France has not
undertaken separate national measures because cross-border
movements of biotech products are covered by European
regulation 1946/2003. For imports of products into France,
Basin said that the European regulation is stricter that
that proposed by the MOP-1, with the EU regulations
1829/2004 (Novel Food/Novel Feed or NF/NF) and 1830/2004
(Traceability and Labeling, or T&L).
6. Miralles described the three categories of biotech
labeling currently on the French market: (1) "containing
GMOs" for products with more than 0.9 percent of GMOs (based
on the European NF/NF and T&L regulations); (2) "no label"
for products that come in under the threshold of 0.9
percent, based on the T&L and NF/NF regulations; and (3)
"non-GMO" for products without any GM content and products
not derived from GMOs (this requires strict documentation.)
This a French regulation, not an EU regulation.
7. Miralles continued that the Frauds Office of the
Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry, as well as the
Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health are working
on implementing measures for biotech labeling in the Food
Service sector. She said that the EU Commission's position
with regard to biotech labeling for hotels, restaurants and
institutions (HRI) is the following: if a meal is prepared
by the institution, labeling is not required, but if a meal
is not prepared in the institution, labeling is required.
For example, bread served in a restaurant must be labeled if
it is not prepared in the restaurant, but it doesn't have to
be labeled if prepared offsite and served in the restaurant,
in the hypothetical case of bread made from biotech wheat.
Miralles said that French government authorities are working
on improving the consistency of biotech labeling regulations
in the Food Service sector.