Food Law News - UK - 2006

FSA News Item, 30 March 2006

GM FOOD/LABELLING - Survey of soya for GM material

An Agency survey to investigate whether foods containing soya are correctly labelled to indicate whether they contain ingredients produced from genetically modified (GM) material, has found that all products complied with the law.

A total of 60 samples of soya ingredients, including flour and textured soya protein, were collected by 14 local authorities across the UK between February and April 2005 from a range of manufacturing premises. These were analysed for Roundup Ready™ soya, which is a GM soya that has been in use in food in the UK since 1995.

Out of the 60 samples, 54 (90%) were either negative in a screening test or did not contain quantifiable levels of GM soya. The remaining six samples were found to have very low levels of GM soya, which after taking the uncertainty of the method into account, were all around the lowest levels of measurement (0.06% – 0.1%).

European GM food laws require that foods derived from GM sources should be labelled to say 'this product contains genetically modified organisms' or 'produced from genetically modified soya'.

However, the law allows for the fact that small amounts of GM material, which have been authorised for use in the European Union, could be present because of accidental mixing of crop varieties, for example during transport or storage. If this accidental presence in the final product is below 0.9% then the final product does not need to be labelled as containing GM ingredients, providing that the manufacturer can demonstrate their efforts to avoid GM content.

The companies whose products contained these low levels of GM soya all provided evidence of their efforts to obtain GM free soya and therefore to comply with the law.

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