Tag Archives: Labelling of gmos

Traceability and labelling of GMOs

Traceability and labelling of GMOs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Traceability and labelling of GMOs

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal nutrition

Traceability and labelling of GMOs

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms and the traceability of food and feed products produced from genetically modified organisms and amending Directive 2001/18/EC [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The European Union sets out a framework for guaranteeing the traceability of GMOs throughout the food chain, including in processed foods in which the production methods have destroyed or altered the genetically modified DNA (e.g. in oils). These rules apply not only to GMOs to be used in food, but also those intended to be used in crops (e.g. seeds).

Objectives

The European Union has two main objectives:

  • to inform consumers through the compulsory labelling, giving them the freedom to choose;
  • to create a “safety net” based on the traceability of GMOs at all stages of production and placing on the market. This “safety net” will facilitate the monitoring of labelling, the surveillance of the potential effects on human health or the environment and the withdrawal of products in cases of risk to human health or the environment.

GMOS

This Regulation covers:

  • all products which consist of GMOs or which contain them (this includes fields as diverse as the products, which are intended for entry into the human or animal food chain, products destined for industrial processing for uses other than consumption (e.g. in the production of biofuel) or even products destined to be used ornamentally (e.g. in the production of cut flowers));
  • foodstuffs and animal feed products made from GMOs.

Labelling and traceability

All the products covered by this Regulation are subject to compulsory labelling, which shall enable consumers to be better informed and will offer them the freedom to choose to buy products consisting of, containing or made from GMOs.

The specific requirements of this Regulation related to labelling shall not apply in isolation as these rules are in addition to the following rules which also concern labelling:

  • the general labelling rules applicable to foodstuffs generally intended for human consumption (Directive 2000/13/EC);
  • the general labelling rules provided for the marketing of feed (Regulation (EC) No 767/2009);
  • the specific labelling rules applicable to GMO food and feed (Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003).

Traceability enables GMOs and their products to be traced throughout the production chain. This system is based on the transmission and holding of information by each operator.

GMOs or products containing GMOS

Operators must transmit the following information in writing:

  • an indication that the products consist of or contain GMOs;
  • the unique identifiers assigned to the GMOs.

If the product is a mixture of GMOs, the industrial operator may submit a declaration of use of these products, together with a list of the unique identifiers assigned to all the GMOs used to constitute the mixture.

This information must also be held for five years.

The operators who place on the market a pre-packaged product consisting of or containing GMOs must, at all stages of the production and distribution chain, ensure that the words “This product contains genetically modified organisms” or “Product produced from GM (name of organism)” appear on a label of the product. In the case of products, including in large quantities, which are not packaged and if the use of a label is impossible, the operator must ensure that this information is transmitted with the product. It may take the form of accompanying documents, for example.

Products produced from GMOs

When placing a product on the market, the operator must transmit the following information in writing to the operator receiving the product:

  • an indication of each food ingredient produced from GMOs;
  • an indication of each raw material or additive for feedingstuffs produced from GMOs;
  • if there is no list of ingredients, the product must bear an indication that it is produced from GMOs.

This information must also be held for five years.

GMO adventitious presence threshold

All food or feed products, including those intended directly for processing are subject to the labelling obligation when they consist, contain or are made from GMOs. Only traces of GMOs may be exempt from this obligation if they do not exceed the threshold of 0.9 % and if their presence is adventitious and technically unavoidable.

The Member States carry out measures for the inspection and monitoring of products, including sampling and quantitative and qualitative analyses of food and feed. These measures entail the Member States being able to withdraw from the market a product that does not meet the conditions laid down in this Regulation.

Context

This Regulation harmonises the traceability measures laid down in the legislation, particularly Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release of GMOs in the environment.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003

07.11.2003

16.01.2004

OJ L 268, 18.10.2003

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008

11.12.2008

OJ L 311, 21.11.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Food and Feed

Food and Feed

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Food and Feed

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal nutrition

Food and Feed (GMO)

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 on genetically modified food and feed [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This Regulation is stricter than the previous legislation. It supplements Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Products covered

The Regulation applies to three types of product:

  • genetically modified organisms for food and feed use;
  • food and feed containing GMOs;
  • food and feed produced from or containing ingredients produced from GMOs.

Authorisation procedure

The Regulation provides for a single authorisation procedure for food products containing GMOs.

The industrial operator can submit his application in accordance with this Regulation for all food products containing GMOs in compliance with the provisions provided for by Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment.

The industrial operator submits a single application for food and feed uses and for cultivation. This means that a GMO which has obtained authorisation can be used not only in food and animal feed but also for cultivation or deliberate release into the environment.

Assessment (EFSA) and risk management (Commission)

Once the application has been made by an industrial operator, the national authority concerned acknowledges receipt in writing within 14 days and informs the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which is responsible for risk assessment in the food sector. The latter has 6 months in which to conduct this assessment.

The Commission is responsible for risk management. On the basis of the risk assessment carried out by the EFSA, the Commission draws up a draft decision accepting or rejecting the application within 3 months. It then submits this draft to the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. If this committee accepts the proposal, it is finally adopted by the Commission; if it does not, the proposal is assessed by the Council of Ministers. If the latter does not reach a position within three months or if it is unable to reach a qualified majority for or against, the Commission adopts its proposal.

The marketing authorisation is renewable for ten-year periods.

Labelling

Food and feed products containing GMOs must be labelled as such. The words ‘genetically modified’ or ‘produced from genetically modified (name of the organism)’ must be clearly visible on the labelling of these products.

Food and feed products which contain a proportion of GMOs of less than 0.9 % of each ingredient are not labelled as GMO on the condition that the presence of the genetically modified organism is adventitious or technically unavoidable.

All genetically modified organisms and products thereof for food use must respect the labelling conditions provided for in this Regulation and also those laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of GMOs.

GMO adventitious presence threshold

The presence of GMOs in traditional crops is difficult to avoid. Minute traces in food products are tolerated if their presence is accidental or the result of technically unavoidable contamination during growing, harvesting, transport or processing.

It is the responsibility of the farmer to demonstrate to the authorities the adventitious or technically unavoidable presence of a GMO in a food product.

Background

This Regulation harmonises the legislation on the labelling of GMOs by amending or repealing the legislation in force.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003

7.11.2003

18.4.2004

OJ L 268 of 18.10.2003

Amending Act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1981/2006

12.1.2007

OJ L 368 of 23.12.2006

Regulation (EC) No 298/2008

10.4.2008

OJ L 97 of 9.4.2008