GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Stakeholder input wanted: survey on research needs for assessing GMO impacts 

Shaping the Future of GMO Research

Stakeholder with interests in the risk and/or benefit assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are invited to take part in an online survey.

The aim of this survey is to identify which research needs should be prioritised, thereby contributing to the commissioning of research on the health, environment and economic impacts of GMOs.

The survey will close on 15th July 2015.

More information and access to the online survey

The setting-up of this website was financially supported by the European Union within the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme from 1 January 2005 until 28 February 2007.

The European Commission and other EU agencies are not responsible for the content.
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GMO labelling of foodstuffs produced from animals – the discussion continues

According to European law, the meat, milk and eggs from animals which have been fed with genetically modified feed need not be identified specially. The GMO labelling requirement applies only to products which have been produced directly from genetically modified plants. Consumers’ groups and politicians repeatedly have criticized this legislation. Currently, the Finnish Minister for Agriculture has spoken out for the application of GMO labelling to meat. In Germany, the Ministry of Agriculture has proposed an optional label for products derived from conventionally-fed animals. On the other hand, European livestock production is, for the most part, dependent on imported GM feed and, from a scientific view, there is no difference between animal products from livestock raised with or without GM feed. Regarding this question, GMO-Compass outlines the latest headlines and facts.


Chronology -August 2007

Finland: Minister for Agriculture demands labelling of animal-derived products

The Finnish Minister for Agriculture, Sirkka-Liisa Anttilahat, called upon the food industry in her country to provide labelling for meat derived from animals fed with genetically modified feed.

The minister had reacted thereby to notice given by two Finnish meat producers announcing their intention to commence the import of animal feed containing GM soybeans for the first time. Anttilahat stated, “Consumers must have the right to know how, and with what sort of feed, meat is produced.”


Germany: Minister for Agriculture suggests labelling for products derived from conventionally-fed animals

The German Minister for Agriculture, Horst Seehofer, announced the intention to facilitate special labelling for foodstuffs derived from animals which have not received feeds produced from genetically modified plants. According to Mr. Seehofer’s statement, the title “fed without gene technology” nonetheless should apply to products derived from animals fed with vitamins, amino acids or other feed additives produced using gene technology. Feed associations declare this to be consumer fraud.


February 2007

One million signatures for an extension of labelling

Environmental groups and consumers’ associations have delivered a petition with one million signatures to the EU Commmissar for Health and Consumer Safety, Kyprianou. The petition demands the institution of compulsory labelling for animal-derived foodstuffs such as meat, milk and eggs if the relevant livestock received feed made from GM plants. The signatures were collected in 21 countries.



The legal framework: Legislation on GM food and feed

According to the European legislation on genetically modified food and feed, products must be specially labelled if they have been produced directly from genetically modified plants, as is the case with GM soybean oil and feed bags containing GM soybeans. However, if such animal feed is given to cows, pigs or chickens, the meat, milk or eggs from these animals needs not be labelled as such. The reason for this is that the animals are not themselves genetically modified. Furthermore, no difference exists between products derived from animals fed with GMOs and those from animals fed with conventional feeds. This conclusion also was drawn by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in July 2007. According to a literature study undertaken by EFSA, a large number of experimental feeding studies demonstrate that neither fragments of the transgenic DNA nor the proteins derived from GM plants are detectable in tissues, fluids, or edible products of farm animals such as broiler poultry, quail, cattle or pigs. The report compiled literature analysing the whereabouts of transgenic DNA and its resulting proteins during feed production, in the gut, and ultimately in the food products.

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The import of feed from farming regions using GM plants is hardly avoidable

Since insufficient protein-rich feed is available in Europe to satisfy the needs of livestock, the EU Member States import approximately 40 million tonnes of soy material each year, primarily for use in feeding cattle, swine, and chickens. Without the protein offered by soy, Europe would not be able to maintain its current level of livestock productivity.

The most important export countries include the USA, Brazil and Argentina. For many years, farmers in South and North America have cultivated genetically modified soybeans. The availability of “non-GM” feed is very limited on the world market and it is estimated that up to 80 - 90 percent of world soybean exports contain material from GM plants. Therefore, most import shipments of soybeans enter the market labelled as GMO products.

Read more:


An EU Research Project

What are the risks of growing GM crops?

What are the benefits?

Numerous studies have addressed the potential impacts of genetically modified (GM) plants. Yet the existing evidence on the effects of GM plants is often contradictory and the quality of scientific research varies widely.

Therefore, the GRACE project will establish new tools for assessing the quality of existing studies and will conduct comprehensive reviews to identify health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants.

More information


GMO Soybeans & Sustainability

Less soil erosion and fuel consumption: herbicide tolerant soybeans are promoting sustainable cultivation methods.


Glyphosate in European agriculture

Interview with a farmer

Glyphosate containing herbicides are not only used in fields with GM crops. They also allow conventional farmers to sow directly into stubble fields without ploughing. Glyphosate has replaced mechanical weed control in many crops and has had an important impact on agricultural practices and crop yields in Europe over the past few decades.

European Glyphosate Task Force

The issue of contradictory results of biosafety studies
Opposition decreasing or acceptance increasing?
An overview of European consumer polls on attitudes to GMOs
German ban on MON810 maize: will the courts now decide?
China plans to invest in GM crops R&D and consumer education
"Find the wisdom to allow GM technology to flourish"
Results of the GMO Compass snapshot poll
Genetic engineering of cut flowers
Preliminary studies raise hopes: Golden Rice works well!
GMO labelling of foodstuffs produced from animals – the discussion continues
GM Crops in Australia – will the moratoria end?
International study: consumers would buy GM products
GM plants no problem for the honey industry
Are GMOs Fuelling the Brazilian Future?
Latest Eurobarometer: Yes to Biotech – No to GM Food
Barley, Beer and Biotechnology
Farm Fresh Pharmaceuticals
Study: GM Soy Dangerous for Newborns?
Safety evaluation: GM peas in Australia with unexpected side-effects
The western corn rootworm: A pest coming to a maize field near you
Plants for the Future
September 25, 2007 [nach oben springen]

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