The European Commission has given the green light for genetically modified (GM) maize for food and feed.
The commission’s authorisation does not cover the cultivation of GM maize in the EU, but only its use for food and feed.
This GM maize has undergone a full and rigorous authorisation procedure, according to a commission spokesperson, which ensures a high level of protection of human and animal health, and the environment.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has provided a favourable scientific assessment, concluding that this GM maize is as safe as its conventional counterparts.
Following votes in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCOPAFF), and in the subsequent appeal committee, member states did not reach a qualified majority in favour or against this authorisation.
The authorisation is valid for 10 years and any product produced from this GM maize will be subject to strict EU labelling and traceability rules.
In the case of pre-packaged GM food/feed products, the list of ingredients must indicate “genetically modified” or “produced from genetically modified [name of the organism]”.
In the case of products without packaging, these words must still be clearly displayed in close proximity to the product (eg. a note on the supermarket shelf).
These labelling requirements do not apply to food/feed products where no more than 0.9% of the ingredients are GM.
All operators – farmers or food and feed producers – who introduce a product in the supply chain, or who purchase such a product must be able to identify their supplier and the companies to which the products have been delivered.
Operators must provide their customers with the following information, in writing:
- An indication that the product – or certain ingredients – contains, consists of, or is obtained from genetically modified organisms (GMOs);
- Information on the unique identifier(s) for these GMOs;
- In the case of products consisting of or containing mixtures of GMOs to be used only as food or feed or for processing, this information may be replaced by a declaration of use by the operator. It has to be accompanied by a list of the unique identifiers for all those GMOs that have been used to constitute the mixture.