The European Union does not regulate food ingredients which, in the US, would be considered “filth.” This seems at first to be an impossible conclusion, as it claims proof of a negative. Yet, that is the conclusion, and it’s not because these regulations have not yet been found. Rather, it’s because the European Union has specifically exempted such ingredients from regulation.
Even after reading the European legislation which exempts “extraneous matter, such as, for example, insect fragments, animal hair, etc.” from regulation, it remains difficult to believe. It becomes more understandable, though hardly more palatable, when placed in the context of the trade issues involved. In short, Europe has lowered its food standards in order to lower trade barriers between member nations. Scarcely anything could make this more explicit than the Commission’s declaration that trade disturbances based on the Precautionary Principle are problems which Europe must enact laws to prevent. Even so, there is something more explicit: the food regulation designed to address the ‘problem of precaution’ declares these contaminants are “not food,” and therefore, not subject to restrictions on food.
Much of the rhetoric which surrounds the use of engineered crops for food production makes use of the notion of ‘contamination,’ a theme avidly promoted by activists. It is interesting to consider what would happen if the European Union passed legislation which declared ingredients from engineered crops to be ‘contaminants’ on a par with insect fragments and animal hair. The result: they would either not be contaminants, and present a mere “quality” issue, or they would be ‘not food,’ and not subject to food law.
An obvious paradox arises when trade in safe food would flourish in Europe if it were legally defined as ‘contaminated.’ Likewise, another paradox when trade in food actually ‘contaminated’ is expressly exempted by food safety legislation. There is yet a third paradox–when the first two paradoxes coexist within the same legal system.
All this can easily be explained in a European system which gives priority to free trade among its member states over food safety and the precautionary principle, and inverts these interests to defend trade interests against outsiders…
Read ‘The Tolerance of Food Contamination in Europe’ by Andrew Apel here: http://www.cropgen.org/european_food.pdf