GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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E 421 | Sweetener
Possible use of gene technology Labelling
Raw material GM maize Possible
Enzymes, produced with the aid of GM microorganisms No



Mannitol belongs to the sugar alcohols and is appropriate for diabetics as sugar substitute. It has a sweetening power that is much lower than that of sugar (about 60%).

  • Mannitol provides just as much calories as saccharose, but does not require insulin for the breakdown process and therefore is appropriate for diabetics.



Mannitol is applied for different products and fulfills various technological functions such as:

Gene technology

Fructose (fruit sugar) is the basic material for the production of mannitol. It is produced from plant starch during the process of the saccharification of starch.

  • Maize starch can consist partly of genetically modified maize , especially if the raw material was imported from the USA or Argentina. In the EU, genetically modified maize is grown on a comparativelly small area and nonetheless is not used as raw material for foodstuff. This may change in the case that the cultivation of GM maize increases in significance. In the future also: starch from potatoes orwheat.
  • Enzymes solubilise plant starch and metabolise it into ingredients and additives respectively. Several of these enzymes are produced with help of GM microorganisms such as amylases, glucose-isomerase, pullulanase.

Labelling: starch-based additives are subject to a labelling requirement, if they are directly produced of GM plants (e.g. maize). Whether this also applies to mannitol that results by way of various processing stages of starch and glucose respectively, is legally not clarified explicitly. In practice, it has been established that labelling is not practised.

Enzymes and their manner of production generally are not declared on the list of ingredients.


December 10, 2008 [nach oben springen]

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