The bill (PLC 34/2015), which removes the symbol indicating the presence of transgenic components from food labels, is currently under consideration by the Senate Commission for Transparency, Governance, Supervision and Control and Consumer Protection. The bill originated in the House of Representatives was rejected in two Senate committees and approved in two, under criticism from the First Vice President of the Senate and various entities.
The text establishes the removal of the yellow triangle with the letter "T", which today is obligatory on the packaging of food containing any percentage of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The bill restricts the need for warnings on products where the transgenic substance exceeds 1% of the composition. In this case, the current symbol should be replaced only by the phrase "contains transgenic". Likewise, food of animal origin will no longer be labeled in cases when the animals were fed with transgenic feed, and information on the gene donor species will not be required.
The issue was the subject of public hearings bringing together experts and representatives of civil society, who defended the maintenance of the seal under the current terms. The discussions were initially held in response to objections from the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Protection (Idec), which found the project offensive to the principles of precaution and consumer protection. The institute also feared setbacks on the rights guaranteed by the GMO Decree, which established the traceability of the production chain to ensure information and product quality.
The Committee on Science, Technology, Innovation, Communication and Informatics rejected the bill under the report of Senator Randolfe Rodrigues. The Committee on Agriculture and Agrarian Reform approved a favorable report by Senator Cidinho Santos, arguing that GMOs have been a reality worldwide for over a decade and there is no evidence that they may harm the consumer’s health. The Committee on Social Affairs rejected the bill, based on report by Senator Vanessa Grazziotin, and the Committee on the Environment approved the bill, based on a report also offered by Senator Cidinho Santos.
Following the vote in the Commission for Transparency, Governance, Supervision and Control and Consumer Protection, to be pursued after new report by Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, the bill will pass through the Economic Affairs Committee before being submitted to the Plenary.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.