x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

GM food policies around the world

How other countries deal with the sale of genetically modified food

United States The US government supports voluntary labelling, reasoning that genetically modified foods are equivalent to, or as safe to consume as, conventional ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration, which evaluates whether genetically modified crops are safe to eat, has stated that food labels are not obliged to mention GM content unless there are considerable changes to the properties of the food, such as introducing a potential allergen.

(http://www.organicconsumers.org) Europe The European Union has adopted biotech labelling rules that require products to be labelled if an ingredient contains 0.9 per cent or more genetically engineered material. (http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/gmfood/labelling_en.htm) Australia and New Zealand Both countries jointly adopted mandatory labelling rules in 2001, with a one per cent threshold for the unintended presence of GM product.

(Food Standards Australia New Zealand report) Japan and China In Japan, a food item must be labelled as genetically modified if five per cent of any ingredient was genetically altered. (www.gm.org) China has chosen a voluntary approach to GM labelling and leads the world in public biotechnology crop research. However, the country has banned the cultivation of genetically modified rice and soybeans, fearing import bans from other countries.

(Iowa State University: GM Food Labeling Policies of the US and its Trading Patterns, 2001)