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: Guidelines

Additives, Flavours, Enzymes

In principle, the regulations for labelling also apply to additives and flavours. In practice, the obligation of labelling is limited only to a few additives.

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Labelling required: Chocolate with soy-lecithin additives from gm-soy beans

Labelling is mandatory: Additives and flavours manufactured directly from genetically modified organisms are under an obligation to be labelled.

Different additives can be won from GM plants:

  • Lecithine from GM soy beans

  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) from GM soy beans

  • Flavours from proteins from GM soy beans

  • Cellulose from GM cotton, used as thickening agents and binders


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Labelling not usual in practice: Ice-cream with the additives mono-glyceride and di-glyceride

Labelling is legally possible but in practice not usual: There are numerous additives derived from chemical or other modifications of raw materials. These can come from GMOs, usually GM corn and GM soy beans ("additives of the second generation").

In the regulations of the European Union, it is not fixed clearly whether such additives or flavours also have to be labelled. In practice, however, it has become generally accepted that one does not label.

These products are allowed on the market:

  • Mono-glycerides and di-glycerides from GM soy beans, used as emulsifying agents in sweets, baking goods or ice-cream.

  • Modified starch and similar additives from GM corn.

  • Sugar substitutes such as maltite or sorbite from GM corn.

  • Sugar substitutes such as maltite or filler polydextrose made from glucose (raw material: GM corn).

  • Flavours which are derived from modified proteins made from GM soy beans.


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No labelling required: Sweetener, produced by genetically modified micro organisms

Labelling is not required: additives, vitamins and flavours produced with the aid of genetically modified microorganisms are not under the obligation of labelling.

The condition: In the food and/or the additive, GM microorganisms or their components are no longer present.

Production by GM microorganisms is, for instance, possible with these additives: 

  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

  • Glutamate and several substances, used as flavour enhancers

  • Aspartame, used as sweetener

  • Xanthan, used as thickening agent


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No labelling required: Cheese, in the production of which chymosin produced by genetically modified microorganisms was used

Labelling is not required if food enzymes are used which have been produced with the aid of genetically modified microorganisms.

Usually, enzymes are no longer present in active form in the food they were used to produce. With few exceptions, they qualify therefore as processing aids and not as food.

These generally do not have to be labelled:

  • Chymosin for producing cheese

  • Starch-splitting amylases in bread or pastries

  • Sugar-splitting invertases in sweets and chocolates

  • Amylases and other enzymes which are used for the production of glucose syrup from starch

  • Pectinases which degrade cell membranes in juice or wine


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

January 23, 2007 [nach oben springen]

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