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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

France to Introduce GM-free Labelling

Immediate release (4 Nov 2009)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065

GM Freeze welcomed the news that France intends to allow labelling of animals products produced using non-GM animal feed and is calling on the UK to follow suit.

The French government is expected to legislate to allow GM-free labelling based on a 0.1% threshold following a recommendation from the official French advisory body on GMOs. [1] The proposed threshold is below that in EU legislation, which only requires products containing GM ingredients to be labelled above a 0.9% threshold. [2] The same applies to animal feed containing GM ingredients, but dairy products, meat and eggs from livestock fed on GM feed do not have to be labelled. Thus the public is unable to avoid GM fed products, restricting their choice. The majority of supermarkets do supply a limited amount meat, fish and eggs from producers who do not use GM feed, but the packs do not include this information.

France follows Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland in legislating for GM-free labels. Ireland also intends to do the same. A UK opinion survey in 2006 found 87% support for the labelling of animal products produced using GM feed. [3]

In another surprise development in the last week, aspiring EU member Turkey announced new restrictions on GM imports amounting to a ban. [4]

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

The news from France is very welcome and adds to the pressure on the UK to provide people with clear information about the use of GM animal feed.

All our political parties claim to be pro-choice when it comes to information about the use of GM, but so far none of them have proposed the GM-free labelling measures being adopted in other EU countries, some of whom are already exporting to the UK. They should all adopt this policy.

The information available from supermarkets is patchy and difficult to find. There is nothing to stop the retailers starting up their own GM-free labels on animals products based on the use of certified GM-free feed which is readily available if companies want to order it.


Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065.

[1] The Haut Conseil des Biotechnologies (HBC) yesterday advised the French Government that GM-free labels should be based on a 0.1% threshold in animal feed.

[2] The current legislation (The GMO Traceability and Labelling Regulation 2004) requires all GM ingredients in food and feed to be labelled on packs or documents above a threshold of 0.9%. Exemptions only apply below this threshold if the GM presence can be shown to be adventitious or technically unavoidable by the producers (based on measures taken to avoid a GM presence along the supply chain). The law does not apply to animal products produced using GM feed. This loophole allows GM crops to be imported into the UK for feed, leaving consumers in the dark and unable to exercise a genuine choice to avoid GM.

[3] GkF/NOP poll summer 2006 for GM Freeze and Friends of the Earth.

[4] See