Luc Guyau, new French president of the EU farmers' organisation

BRUSSELS, April 10 (Reuter) - Consumers must have guarantees and information about food containing genetically modified organisms, Luc Guyau, the new French president of the EU farmers' organisation, COPA, said on Thursday.

"The consumer must be above all protected and informed,"

Guyau told a news conference marking the start of a two-year term as leader of the EU's eight million farmers.

Guyau, head of the main French farmers' union FNSEA, stressed that economic interests must take second place.

The public health scare over mad cow disease had fuelled concern about food safety and demands for tighter controls, he noted.

But farmers must not block progress provided the scientific research is carried out responsibly, he added.

Guyau condemned what he described as the "incoherent attitude" of the French government which in the same week in February accepted GMO maize but refused to let farmers grow it.

"Either one says it's dangerous for everyone or one authorises it for everyone," Guyau said.

The European Commission is planning to demand the labelling of all genetically modified farm products, including two strains of GMO maize and soybeans already cleared for sale in the EU.

18:11 04-10-97

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