GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Stakeholder with interests in the risk and/or benefit assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are invited to take part in an online survey.

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Plant fat



The term plant fats (also cooking fat, frying fat) applies to a mix of plant fats from various sources.

If the source of the fat is named (e.g. coconut fat), then at least 97% of the fat must come from this plant. If a fat is labelled pure or authentic, then this must be 100%.

  • Plant fats can be produced from coconut palms, palm kernels or cocoa (cocoa butter).
  • To prepare solid or spreadable fats from liquid plant oils (e.g. from rapeseed, sunflowers or soya beans) these have to be hydrogenated (see also: plant oils).
  • Today it is possible to produce fats for specific purposes with particular physical characteristics (consistency, frying and baking characteristics) from liquid oils.


Plant fats or hydrogenated cooking oils are used as ingredients in countless prepared food products, such as:

Gene technology

Various oil-producing plants or oil seeds are commercially cultivated and processed:

  • soja (USA, Argentina, Brazil; large quantities of soya primary products are imported into the EU)
  • rapeseed (Canada, USA, Australia)
  • maize (USA, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, among others)
  • cotton (India, USA, Australia, China, among others)
  • flax / flax seed (approved in Canada but not yet cultivated)

Genetically modified varieties of rapeseed and maize are also being tested in Europe and are undergoing field trials on limited areas.

Gene technology is also being applied to other plants:

To produce fats with the optimal characteristics, the different fatty acids can be replaced (transesterified). For this the application of enzymes produced with the help of GM microorganisms can be considered.

Labelling: oils and fats that are produced from GM plants (e.g. soya, maize, rapeseed) have to be labelled as such. It does not play a role whether the corresponding GM plant is detectable in the finished product or not.


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