The Czech Republic and the Netherlands: Numerous food products with GM labelling in supermarkets

Labelled GM food products are on the shelves in six European countries, mostly in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Estonia. Around half of the consumers of such products though, are unaware that these are produced from genetically modified plants. This has been revealed by an EU-financed European study.

Of the food products mentioning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their labels, most were cooking oils and margarine, which were produced from at least some GM soybeans. Other labelled products include popcorn, fish fingers, crisps, crackers, mayonnaise and chocolate bars.

According to a market survey carried out within the framework of the European study coordinated by King’s College London, the most labelled products were found in the Czech Republic (27), the Netherlands (18) and Estonia (9). Individual products were on the shelves in Spain (6), the United Kingdom (3) and Poland (1). No products with GM labelling were found in the big supermarket chains in Germany, Sweden, Greece or Slovenia. The other EU countries were not included in the survey.

Food products labelled "without gene technology" indicating they contain no GMOs, were found in Sweden, Germany and Poland. In the Netherlands this specific kind of labelling is not permitted.

It was found that, wherever these labelled food products are on offer, they are also bought. A consumer survey carried out within the framework of the study revealed that these products cover up to 13 percent of the market in the respective product categories in Czech supermarkets. In the Netherlands, it is 11 percent. More than half of those consumers questioned who had bought GM food in the past twelve months, did so without realising it.

The authors of the study concluded that the majority of consumers questioned do not accept the use of gene technology in food products. However, even with this belief, the majority of consumers do not actively avoid GM food.

Source: GMO Compass