The Assembly of the Republic has rejected two bills aimed at extending labelling to new products for food containing GMO’s and providing information to consumers on the environmental cost of food production.
The first bill was presented by Mariana Silva, of the greens, who argued that "any citizen has the right to make their choices fully and consciously" and that the party remains committed "to combating the cultivation of genetically modified products. The manipulation is an incongruity and a danger, because agriculture is practiced in open fields and not in the laboratory”, she stressed.
However, the proposal only received the acceptance of PCP and BE and abstention from the Liberal Initiative (IL), with PS, PSD, CDS-PP and Chega voting against.
In discussing the bill, social democrat João Loura criticized the return of a “discussion that has already taken place and that has already been rejected”, without failing to point out “incongruences” to the document. For the PSD deputy, the current obligation to provide information on GMOs above 0.9% is sufficient, while noting that imposing the obligation beyond this threshold "is very difficult for science" and that it would "make life difficult for Portuguese farmers".
The criticism was shared by Cecília Meireles, from the CDS-PP, with the centrist deputy considering that the project contains an “ideological prejudice in relation to some products”. Socialist deputy Palmira Maciel, on the other hand, observed only that "the concerns that are at the base of this initiative must be properly framed in the context of national policy."
In the opposite direction, the Left Bloc, through deputy Nelson Peralta, accused the large parties of “subservience” to multinationals in the agrochemical industry, while the PCP classified the proposal as “balanced”. According to communist João Dias, “the big bet must be on small and medium-sized agriculture, which produces safe and quality products” for national consumers.
As for the bill submitted by the PAN and made known in parliament by Bebiana Cunha, the deputy recalled that the "food sector is one of those with the greatest environmental impact" worldwide and that, often, information about its origin and the environmental costs of products is reduced or hidden from the public.
The argument did not convince the other parties, with PS, PSD, PCP, CDS-PP, Chega and IL rejecting the text.