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.
On 18 April 2004, new rules for GM labelling came into force in all EU Member States.
The GM Food and Feed Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003 lays down rules to cover all GM food and animal feed, regardless of the presence of any GM material in the final product.
This means 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 also do not need to be labelled. Details on the labelling rules can be found on the table below.
Any intentional use of GM ingredients at any level must be labelled. However, the Food and Feed Regulation provides for a threshold for the adventitious, or accidental, presence of GM material in non-GM food or feed sources. This threshold is set at 0.9% and only applies to GMOs that have an EU authorisation. The temporary threshold of 0.5% for the presence of GM material not yet authorised, but that had a favourable assessment from an EU scientific committee, expired in April 2007. This means that such unauthorised GM material cannot be present at any level.