EU Regulations on the Traceability and Detection of GMOs: Difficulties in Interpretation, Implementation and Compliance


Europe has probably the strictest GMO regulation in the world. Its objectives are to give max-imum protection of public health and the environment, while at the same time providing a science-based regulatory structure where biotechnology can flourish. In contrast to the situation in the USA, European opinion on the health and environmental biosafety of GMOs has been highly polarized, with the result that the public has expressed the desire of having an informed choice in what they are eating. Consequently, the European Union has introduced legislation on the trace-ability and detection of GMOs, including labelling of food and feed containing GMOs, or derived products thereof, above a defined threshold of fortuitous presence. This review article sum-marizes EC regulations, directives and recommendations on traceability and labelling, and dis-cusses the practical problems involved in their implementation. These include the definition of the labelling threshold and the units of measure, sampling of large cargos, mixtures of GMOs, stacked genes, unauthorized GMOs, unknown GMOs and asynchronous approval. The ways in which the EC integrated project Co-Extra is contributing to the resolution of these problems are also discussed.

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    • "This invitation resulted in the adoption of Regulation 1829/2003 on the authorization procedure for genetically modified food and feed, and Regulation 1830/2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of GMOs and the traceability of food and feed products produced from GMOs. Even more importantly, Regulation 1946/2003 was explicitly designed to implement the provisions of the Cartagena Protocol on preventing biotechnological risks (Davison and Bertheau 2007 "
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    • "The proposed regulation amends Directive 2001/18/EC to allow Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory. Source: adapted from Vicario, 2010, Davison and Bertheau, 2007 and Europa, 2008b. As of January 18, 2011, the EU Register of GM Food and Feed lists 38 GM authorized products for food and/or feed use: 6 cotton varietals, 22 maize, 1 bacterial biomass, 1 yeast biomass, 3 varieties of rapeseed, 1 potato, 3 soybean types and 1 sugar beet (EC, n.d.b). "
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    • "gentechnik/verbraucherinnenschutz/kennzeichnung/nutzende_unternehmen/). Since the first commercialization of GMOs in third countries, the EU has been facing a great number of alerts (Davison and Bertheau, 2007, 2008). In most of the cases, these alerts resulted from a misappropriate segregation of approved GMO (Starlink™ maize), or the seeds' commercialization of unapproved GMOs (US Bt10 instead of Bt11 maize), or the release of unapproved GMOs as in the case of US LL601 rice or Chinese Bt63 and Kefeng 6 rice. "

    Full-text · Chapter · Oct 2011
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