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Inspections in Germany show: GM labelling rules are generally obeyed


(24 September 2010) In the EU, food products that consist of GMOs or contain GMOs have to be labelled. While no traces of unapproved GMOs are permitted, for GMOs that are approved in the EU there is a labelling threshold of 0.9 percent. In Germany each year inspectors test thousands of food products for their GM content. The results for 2009 from a majority of the German regions ("Länder") indicate that the GM labelling rules were largely followed.

Only 5 food products containing soybeans and 16 food products containing maize were found that had a GM content above the threshold; seven of the unlabelled food products containing more than 0.9 percent GM maize were found in Asian grocery shops. In the past it were above all soy products that were found in violation of the labelling requirements.

Similar to past results, inspectors found that 24 percent of the soy products had a GM content below the labelling threshold; in the case of maize only 5 percent of the samples showed positive results. Often, these traces of GMOs are close to the detection level of 0.1 percent.

In addition to the testing for the content of approved GMOs, food products were also randomly tested for traces of unapproved GMOs. In the case of papaya, squash, tomato and potato products the findings were negative, i.e. no traces of unauthorised GMOs were found. In isolated cases minute traces of GM rice were found in rice products, though. And in products containing linseed the inspectors frequently found a low-level presence of the GM flax FP967. These food products are not fit for the EU market and must not be processed or sold.

The presence of linseed FP967 was also responsible for almost two thirds of the 149 notifications of identified unauthorised GMOs in food or feed in the EU's "Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed" (RASFF) in 2009. The next most important source of notifications in the RASFF were the 27 instances of traces of the GM maize lines that were detected before they were eventually authorised in October 2009. With 17 occurrences at EU level, traces of GM rice were the third cause for RASFF notifications.

 

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