Both traceability and labelling are directly covered by the EU Regulations 1829/2003 and 1830/2003, respectively. As is the case in all EU member states, the use, processing, and trade of genetically modified materials must be documented along the entire production chain. Foods and feeds made from or containing genetically modified organisms must be labelled as such.
In Germany, details on the implementation of traceability and surveillance are covered by separate legislation. This law on the implementation of the EU directives says that the food and feed authorities of the federal states are responsible for the monitoring of the compliance with regulations on labelling and traceability. It also sets fines and punishments. The marketing of unauthorised GMO products, for example, can be punished by three years imprisonment. Anyone failing to label GMO products or to document their trade are in violation of the traceability regulation and can be fined up to 50,000 Euro.
Most surveillance authorities of the federal states publish the results of their GMO analyses in an annual report.
Every year several thousand food products undergo testing. Examiners check to see if any traces of GMOs – mostly GM soy or GM corn – can be found. Even if the results differ each year per product or per German state, one trend is clear: the regulations for gene-technology labelling are conformed with for the most part. The number of infractions is very low. In 2007, 22 food products containing soy and six containing corn were found with GMOs that should have been labelled as such. These products were removed from the shelves.
The percentage of soy food product samples testing GMO-positive has risen levelling out during the past three years at around 25 percent. Normally, only very small traces of GM soybeans are detected. The values measured remain under the 0.9 percent threshold and are often closer to 0.1 percent.
Corn product samples testing GMO-positive are on the decline. In the past, examiners found at most nine percent of all samples with minute traces of GM corn. In 2007, it was only four percent. Six of those corn products tested, however, exceeded the maximum allowed limit. Hence, infractions in 2007 were somewhat higher