NGO lobbies for strict "GM-free" definition

Allowable presence of genetically modified material in non-GM food should be 0.1%, says group

A British NGO called today for the EU to require non-genetically modified (GM) foods to be as free of accidental contamination by GM material as scientifically achievable. Following the approval of two EU regulations that govern the labelling of GM foods, the European Commission is in the process of defining a "tolerance" level for GM material before "GM-free" labelling would become illegal. According to EU sources, the final proposal is likely to be between 1 and 3%, but the London-based Food Commission said today that "GM-free must mean zero GM" and called for the tolerance level to be set at 0.1%. Only this would force food companies and retailers to aim for zero tolerance, Sue Dibb of the Food Commission told ENDS Daily. According to the group, several British retailers that have launched GM-free policies for their own brand products are actually working to tolerance levels of around 2%. The Food Commission branded this practice as "unacceptable" and said that all food companies claiming their products were GM-free should aim for zero tolerance levels. A formal EU proposal on tolerance levels for non-GM foods is expected to emerge this autumn.

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