In the exercise of organic agriculture, the deliberate application of gene technology is not allowed. However, minor admixtures of genetically modified organisms (GMO) are tolerated if they have occurred accidentally and are technically unavoidable. As also is the case with conventional food products, the threshold value is set at 0.9 per cent.
In the context of the specific monitoring programme in 2007, sixty food products of organic origin that contained soya and maize were tested for the presence of genetically modified (GM) plants. The 21 products with bio-maize consistently were “free of gene technology”. In six of the thirty-nine soya food products, such as tofu and soy-beverage, very small traces of GM soybeans were detected at values lower than 0.05 per cent. As such, these values lay far below the threshold of 0.9 per cent. In comparison, the food surveillance agency of Baden-Wuerttemberg had found minor components of GM plants in 2007 in almost one half of conventional food products that contained soya.
A further comparison with the previous year has shown that foreign genetic material may be found in consistently fewer 'bio' food products. In 2003, as much as twenty per cent of soya products and twenty-nine per cent of maize products were 'GMO-positive'.
Within the framework of official food surveillance, bio-monitoring in Baden-Wuerttemberg is conducted as a joint project of the four state bureaux responsible for chemicals and for veterinary research. Instituted in 2002, this programme is unique in its breadth in Germany and Europe.