GM foods "conquering" German supermarkets

Consumer group says many foods contain GM soya, maize; some above labelling threshold

A German government-backed consumer foundation has reported that over one-third of food products it tested contained either genetically modified (GM) soya or maize. Three had a GM content over the 1% threshold that should require specific labelling, but had no such labels, the group said.

Published on Thursday in Berlin, the findings showed that 31 of the 82 products tested were not "GM free" but had a content of less than 1%. However, the finger was pointed at an American pancake mix, "Bisquick Shake'n Pour," a tofu ice-cream from the Netherlands called Tofutti and a confectionary bar from the UK, "SIS Science in Sport Go Bar". The pancake mix contained up to five GM products at levels of up to 20%.

The consumer group claims that GM foods are "conquering" supermarkets and has called for the threshold over which GM ingredients have to be identified on food packaging labels to be reduced to 0.5% and for the national government to hold back on the planting of GM crops.

In April European Commission food experts decided that food producers would have to indicate the presence of GM products if the content exceeded 1% in order to facilitate a common European labelling system and greater transparency by food producers (ENDS Daily 21 October 1999).

Follow Up:
German consumer foundation, tel: +49 30 26310, and Report findings from issue 8/2000 online.

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