GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
  Aug 29, 2014 | 4:03 pm
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Stories

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.

 

Background

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.

Read more:

 

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

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September 25, 2007 [nach oben springen]

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