Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Ceisteanna (30)

Liz McManus


106 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason he voted at the Environment Council in Luxembourg in favour of new draft regulations on the production and labelling of organic products which allow products to be labelled as organic if they contain up to a maximum of 0.9% GMO content, especially when the European Parliament had recommended that the limit be set at 0.1%; his views on whether the Council decision may undermine public confidence in organic products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22817/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The substantive political and policy decision on the item referred to was taken at the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers on 11 June 2007 at which Ireland was represented by the then Minister for Agriculture and Food. In accordance with EU procedures, all political decisions are subject to further legal and other processes — unrelated to the relevant political or policy decision — and subsequently come to the next available Council for formal approval which, in this case, was the Environment Council held on the 28 June. That Environment Council gave formal approval to a whole range of decisions in addition to the item referred to in the question, including decisions on trade policy, fisheries and the EU budget.

As Ireland had not opposed the substantive political and policy decision on this specific organic food labelling issue at the Agriculture Council, it would not have been appropriate to have opposed its formal adoption at the Environment Council, irrespective of the merits or otherwise of the proposal from a policy perspective.