[DE] Food inspections for GMOs in Germany in 2008: infringements rare, but often traces of GM-soy
Once again in 2008, food inspectors in Germany found only isolated cases of GM-labelling infringements. Whereas very slight traces of GM soybeans were frequently found in products containing soy, those derived from maize were mostly "GMO free". Initial data received from four German states uphold the trend established in previous years.
Up to now the states of Baden-Württemberg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein have published their figures for 2008. On the whole, GMO labelling directives are being adhered to. Only in Baden-Württemberg were two products found to be at fault: a cornchip product from the Philippines and a German confectioner's soy lecithin, both exceeding the threshold of 0.9 percent for which labelling is required.
Slight traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are commonly found in food products containing soy. This was the case in 33 percent of such products inspected (57 of 172) in Baden-Württemberg, representing a decline over the previous year (2007: 39 percent). In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, every sixth soy-product inspected (7 of 43) in 2008 turned out to be GMO-positive. In Saxony, however, genetically altered DNA was detected in only 4 of 234 foods containing soy, while in Schleswig-Holstein the percentage of GMO-positive tests rose from 12 to 14 percent (11 of 80) over the previous year. In the majority of the samples tested in all the German states, only traces of less than 0.1 percent were recorded.
Foods containing corn, for the most part, are "GMO free". In Baden-Württemberg traces of GM corn were detected in just four percent of samples tested (7 of 183). In Schleswig-Holstein one GMO-positive sample was found, whereas in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and in Saxony none of the corn products tested were found to be at fault.
Foods derived from unauthorised GM crops are usually picked up by the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and turned back at the borders. This system prevents unauthorised products from reaching the European market. The German Consumer Protection Agency, responding to a query from the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group, said that in 2008, 26 alert notifications were issued for foods in Germany. These were mostly for rice and rice products (23 of 26) in which inspectors had discovered traces of less than 0.1 percent of unauthorised GM-rice.
Source: GMO Compass