Fears over GM food labelling

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 12:00am

A compulsory labelling system on genetically modified food could breach World Trade Organisation rules, an official said yesterday.

Leung Pak-yin, Deputy Director of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, said there was no worldwide labelling system in place for such food.

A mandatory labelling scheme would mean banning food imported from countries that did not use the system, such as the United States.

'We have to study if this will breach obligations under the World Trade Organisation, of which Hong Kong is a member.' Japan and South Korea will enforce compulsory labelling next year.

A Trade and Industry Bureau spokesman said it opposed any system which would effectively form a trade barrier.

'The issue of whether the system is breaching obligations under the body needs to be studied,' he said.