Are all vegetables and fruits GMO

Labeling of genetic engineering in food

© Barbara Dudzińska /

So far, only a few transgenic maize, soy and rapeseed lines have been approved in Europe. However, there is hardly any cultivation. Therefore, GM plants are mainly imported from the USA and Argentina as animal feed.

In the case of foods with ingredients containing soy or maize, there is theoretically the possibility of coming across labeled products such as oils, granulates or lecithin. But because European consumers do not want genetic engineering in food, such products are de facto not to be found in stores. There are also no transgenic types of fruit, vegetables or grains such as tomatoes, apples, rice or potatoes on the market.

According to an EU regulation that has been in force since 2004, foodstuffs are subject to labeling if they contain “incidental or technically unavoidable” GMO traces of more than 0.9 percent per ingredient. If GMOs are used deliberately, they must always be labeled.

The list of ingredients must then contain the following information:

  • "Contains genetically modified organisms" or
  • "Made from genetically modified ..."
When it comes to animal products, consumers are left in the dark

Products such as meat, milk or eggs from animals that have been fed genetically modified plants do not have to be labeled in the EU. This deliberate loophole in the law currently secures the genetic engineering industry's annual import of around 37 million tons of mostly genetically modified soybeans or soybean meal into the EU. Over 80 percent of it ends up in the feed trough. Only mandatory labeling of these animal products would enable customers to recognize such GMO foods.

With the new legislation, honey has been declared a food of animal origin and is therefore not subject to labeling. Genetic engineering can already be detected in German honey. This represents further uncertainty among consumers.

Animal products can be voluntarily labeled as GMO-free if the animals have not received GM feed for most of their lives and transgenic additives are dispensed with. But only mandatory labeling of these animal products would enable customers to recognize genetically modified food - so consumers have no freedom of choice. Organic farming offers an alternative, because no genetically modified organisms may be used here. In addition to freedom from genetic engineering, organic seals also guarantee species-appropriate animal husbandry.

Additives such as aromas, flavor enhancers, vitamins and enzymes that were produced “with the aid of” transgenic microorganisms are also not labeled.

That is already marked

First: foods that are themselves a genetically modified organism (GMO), e.g. corn, tomatoes, soybeans or pigs.

Second: Food that has been produced from a GMO - even if this cannot be detected in the end product, e.g. oil from genetically modified soy or starch from transgenic maize.

Third: foods that contain one or more GMOs, such as yogurt with genetically modified bacteria or wheat beer with genetically modified yeast.