FSA News Item, 9 January 2013
The Food Standards Agency is today publishing the findings of research looking at consumer attitudes to the labelling of genetically modified (GM) food and the use of 'GM-free' labelling.
The key findings of the research, which can be found via the link below, are:
The Agency commissioned this research to inform discussions within Europe about GM labelling and to ensure the UK public’s views were understood and represented.
How it stands currently
Some EU countries have introduced schemes where products can be labelled as 'GM-free' or 'without GM'. However, the rules of these schemes tolerate some GM materials (low level accidental presence, use of certain GM additives etc). The UK has not introduced any scheme to indicate the absence of GM. The European Commission is currently considering whether to harmonise these national schemes across Europe.
In the EU, if a food contains or consists of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or contains ingredients produced from GMOs, this must be indicated on the label. For GM products sold 'loose', information must be displayed immediately next to the food to indicate that it is GM.
Products such as flour, oils and glucose syrups have to be labelled as GM if they are from a GM source.
Products produced with GM technology (cheese produced with GM enzymes, for example) do not have to be labelled.
Products such as meat, milk and eggs from animals fed on GM animal feed do not need to be labelled.
This research was carried out by Define Research and Insight and fieldwork took place from June to September 2012.
To access more details of the research and the published report, go to: http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/ssres/foodsafetyss/gm-labelling/