Ecuador's authorities have given a deadline of November 11 for all foods and drinks produced or marketed in the country to include labeling to show whether or not they contain genetically modified ingredients.
Monica Orozco of elcomercio.com recently interviewed Pedro Paez, the superintendent of Ecuador's Control of Market Power, who issued the decision.
In the interview, Paez says that Ecuador's Consumer Protection Act of 2000 required companies to include relevant information on product labels and that labels omitting information about GMOs could be a violation of that law.
Orozco mentions that there are laboratories in the country that can certify information for food products, to which Paez replies, "It is the responsibility of large companies, before they even occur, to know what is in the product, they can not come to tell me they do not know. This is the gloomy mood of Maria Angula is serving me some sausages, asked what are the black pudding and she says, 'I do not know, but the man who lives next to the cemetery always sells good cheap.'"
To cover the more than 45,000 products on the Ecuadorian market, Paez says that the rule will be enforced with the help of the citizenry. They will also only go after large companies and the products that have the greatest impact first.
He explains that his department is currently working with several ministries to coordinate effective implementation of the deadline. Penalties for violations of the Consumer Protection Act over the past decade could carry a maximum amount of 12% of a company's annual gross sales, according to Paez. However, exemptions for the fines may be given to companies that meet the November 11 deadline.
Regarding concerns that implementing the law could lead to companies restricting their supply of products into the country, Paez said that that was unlikely, and even so, the government is considering criminal and administrative penalties for such an occurrence.
(Translation by Google Translate)