Friday, July 3, 2009

GMO Food Labeling

GM-Food Definition:

1. Foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
2. Foods that contain GM-genetic material/protein for example uncooked maize meal.
3. Foods obtained through genetic modification but not containing any genetic material/protein, for example glucose from processed maize. It would be almost impossible with currently available laboratory techniques to find any genetic material/protein in this category.

Products of animals that were fed on GM-feed are excluded. Studies have failed to detect foreign GM-genetic material/proteins in animal meat and milk.

The internationally labelling situation:

Since 1995 there has not been any consensus amongst Codex Alimentarius member countries. In the meantime individual countries have regulated this to different degrees. European countries label all categories of GM foods/feeds whereas the US labels only improve/changed characteristics. Whether Codex would ever reach consensus remains to be seen.

Non-GM food:

Agricultural practices inevitably result in co-mingling of commodity grain. Mingling could happen on the farm, the silo and along the food chain. An accredited identity preservation system (IPS) could be either for GM grains/food or for Non-GM grains/foods or both. The South African Bureau of Standards is presently developing an IPS for Non-GM grains/food. Such a system could be utilized to facilitate export to specific markets. Voluntary IP systems already exist.

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