Count chemically modified products as GMOs

How do I recognize genetically modified foods?

In the case of packaged goods, there must be a label on the list of ingredients. If there is no list of ingredients, the labeling text must be on the label. Loose or unpackaged food as well as meals in canteens or restaurants must also be labeled. There is no symbol or logo that indicates that this is a genetically modified food.

In principle, the following formulations are possible:

  • "genetically modified"
  • "contains genetically modified XY"
  • "Made from genetically modified XY"

When does NOT have to be marked?

Food, ingredients and additives that have been produced with the help of genetically modified (micro) organisms are excluded from the labeling. The legislator assumes that the food, ingredients and additives produced no longer contain any components of the genetically modified (micro) organisms.

An example: Carriers (e.g. for flavors and vitamins) or technical auxiliaries, including many enzymes that are produced with the help of genetically modified microorganisms (e.g. genetically modified bacteria), do not have to be labeled. They usually don't appear on the ingredients list either.

Foods that are "contaminated" with tiny amounts of GMOs also do not have to be labeled. Such "technically unavoidable" GMO admixtures must not be more than 0.9 percent (based on the respective ingredient). However, it is a prerequisite that the genetically modified organism contained in traces is approved in the EU and the manufacturer can prove that the genetically modified raw materials were not deliberately added.

What about genetically modified feed?

For meat, eggs and milk from animals that were fed with genetically modified feed, the following applies: The genetically modified feed that the farm feeds the animals must be labeled as GMOs. However, the products of the animals that were fed with this feed are not subject to the labeling requirement.

This means that yoghurt, eggs or meat from animals that have eaten genetically modified feed do not have to be labeled.

Organic and "without genetic engineering": stricter labeling rules

So there are cases in which the EU regulation does not require labeling. If you want to be on the safe side and want to rule out as far as possible that the food you buy has come into contact with genetic engineering, you should look out for food with the "Ohne Gentechnik" logo or buy organic food.