GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Mono and diglyceride


E 471 | Emulsifying agent
Possible application of gene technology Labelling
Primary product GM soya possible



Mono and diglyceride are breakdown products of fats. They can be made industrially from fatty acids and glycerol.

There are a number of chemical varieties of mono and diglycerides, mostly esters compounds with certain food acids (E 472a–E 472f). These have been approved for many foodstuffs. They are often listed as "improved mono and diglycerides".


Mono and diglycerides are used, according to their specific characteristics, as emulsifying, coating and flour treatment agents, as well as stabilisers and antioxidants in specific areas of production.

Similar to lecithin mono and diglycerides are used particularly in:

Gene technology

The basic material for mono and diglycerides comes mainly from soya beans.

  • Soya beans: internationally traded primary product soya stems in general completely or in part from genetically modified plants. GM soya beans are grown on a large scale in Argentina and the USA. The EU imports a large part of the soya primary products from these countries.
  • Some food companies process exclusively conventional soya raw material. However, it is not technically possible to keep a strict separation of conventional and GM soya beans through all the processing steps. Therefore, even raw materials that are declared as "free of gene technology" contain a small amount of genetically modified material.

Labelling: supplements that are directly produced from genetically modified soya beans have to be labelled as such. Whether this also applies to mono and diglycerides that are processed in many steps has not been explicitly clarified. In practice they are generally not labelled.

Accidental, technically not measurable mixing of GMO in the soya raw product of up to 0.9% does not require to the derived foodstuff to be labelled.

December 3, 2004 [nach oben springen]

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