Parliament opposed the Commission's proposed definition of “engineered nanomaterials” – tiny particles added to foods – in a vote on Wednesday. MEPs say this definition would exempt foods containing additives which might be nanomaterials that are already on the market from being labelled.
In a resolution passed by 402 votes to 258, with 14 abstentions, MEPs objected to the Commission's draft rules on the grounds that they would grant a blanket exemption from food-labelling requirements for nano-additives already on the market.
“The EP has repeatedly called for proper nano-labelling and it is highly surprising that the Commission even tried to weaken what has been decided by both Parliament and the Council. Consumers have the right to know and make their own choice. They do not want the Commission to do that for them. That is why today's vote is important,” said Carl Schlyter (Greens/EFA, SV), who is responsible for Parliament's scrutiny of these draft rules.
MEPs consider the Commission’s justification for the exemption – that indicating existing food additives followed by the word "nano" in brackets on the labels could confuse consumers by suggesting that these additives are new – to be “erroneous and irrelevant”.