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

Why a threshold?

Labelling is only required for products that exceed the 0.9 percent threshold. Why not zero percent?

During the production, transportation, and processing of agricultural products, a small amount of mixing between different fields and different shipments is difficult to prevent. For this reason, even when a product was intended to be completely GMO-free, traces of GMOs can often still be detected. Products containing these unintentional or technically unavoidable mixtures with GM material do not require labelling, as long as the GM content does not exceed 0.9 percent.

Informed choice: Thresholds mark the border between the intentional application of genetic engineering and a random and technically unavoidable admixture.

The producer must also be able to prove upon request that all necessary measures were taken to bring the product to market separated from GM goods. If the producer knowingly added GMOs to a product, that product must be labelled as such, regardless of the percentage of GM content.

Keep in mind, however, that this threshold is only valid for traces of GMOs that have already been approved in Europe. This means that any traces of GM content found in unlabelled foods has been deemed by European authorities as being safe to eat. Food containing unauthorised or potentially dangerous GMOs cannot be put on the market, regardless of whether or not it is labelled.

The labelling threshold is a reliable benchmark that enables food and feed producers to distinguish between agricultural products from the different cultivation systems and place them on the market accordingly. With this tool, consumers get the chance to make informed choices between different types of products.

Thresholds: Common practice in agriculture and food production

When discussing the purity and mixing of foods, it is important to keep in mind that thresholds and quality criteria have a long precedent in agriculture and food production. Thresholds are routinely used to delineate different product categories.

Labels on honey, for example, will often indicate the plant the honey was produced from (i.e. acacia). If the label states only one plant, the honey must be "predominantly" from the nectar of that plant, i.e. 60-70 percent. These kinds of thresholds and product criteria are by no means statements on the safety of the product. This is also the case for GMO labelling thresholds. The safety of foods is assured by separate, strict approval criteria.

The complete isolation of different agricultural products is virtually impossible. After all, crops are grown in open fields, not closed rooms. Out in the environment, crops release pollen into the air that can pollinate related plants in other fields. And even after harvest, transportation and processing steps may often entail some fortuitous mixing. Thresholds enable farmers to offer organic, conventional, and genetically modified products alongside one another.

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

December 15, 2005 [nach oben springen]

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