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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

FSA Board Urged to Support GM-free Labels

Immediate release (4 Jun 2013)

Calls to: Pete Riley 07903 341 065

In an open letter to Food Standards Agency (FSA) Board members GM Freeze urged the agency to recommend that the Government backs moves to harmonise GM-free labelling across the EU. Such labels should appear both on foods containing GM ingredients and foods from animals reared on GM feed. [1]

The FSA Board will consider a paper on GM-free labelling tabled by the Interim Director of Food Safety at its 4 June meeting as part of developing its recommendations to the Government.

FSA research published in January 2013 found strong public support for GM-free labels, including on meat, milk and eggs from GM-fed animals, which are currently excluded from the GM labelling regulations. [2] Despite the FSA’s own research demonstrating support from two-thirds of respondents for such labelling, the recommendations in the FSA Board paper fail to recommend Government support for proposals to harmonise European GM-free labelling currently being developed by the European Commission. [3] Germany, France and Austria already operate successful “without biotech” labels on animal products. [4]

In its vision statement the FSA claims to support full consumer information, stating, “We aim to ensure that food produced or sold in the UK is safe to eat, consumers have the information they need to make informed choices about where and what they eat.” [5]

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

Consumers have been demanding comprehensive labelling of GM use in food production for many years, but the FSA has always failed to support it. Despite the fine words in their vision statement about ensuring consumers have ‘informed choices’, the FSA has consistently lobbied against comprehensive GM labelling. The paper the FSA Board will discuss on GM-free labels is a continuation of this luke warm and unhelpful approach.

We strongly urge the Board to support consumer demand for GM-free labelling, including foods from GM-fed animals, so people will be able to avoid GM products if they wish – a choice they have been denied for the last decade or more.



[1] GM Freeze, 3 June 2013. “Open letter to FSA Board members

[2] Food Standards Agency, 9 January 2013. GM Labelling: Exploring public responses to the labelling of GM food and the use of GM-free labelling. Qualitative and Quantitative Findings were based on research carried out by Define Research and Insight.

[3] FSA Board meeting agenda: 4 June 2013

[4] Dairy company Campina and French supermarket Carrefour use voluntary “without GM” labels.

[5] FSA, undated. “About Us