Can we make India GMO-free?

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The "Ohne Gentechnik" seal of the Federal Ministry of Consumers also creates more security for consumers.

"Without genetic engineering" seal

In the case of foods labeled in this way, particularly stringent requirements are set so that they do not contain any genetically modified ingredients. The voluntary "Ohne Gentechnik" logo has successfully established itself and creates additional transparency for consumers. The use of genetically engineered enzymes or additives such as vitamins, amino acids or flavors is also prohibited here.

The following applies to animal products such as meat, milk or eggs: The animals must not be fed with genetically modified feed. Depending on the species, the law stipulates deadlines within which the animals are only allowed to receive GMO-free feed.

However, feed additives such as vitamins, amino acids or enzymes, which are produced using genetically modified microorganisms, are permitted. Treating the animals with genetically engineered drugs or vaccines is also permitted.

Labeling requirement in the event of genetic modification

European law basically stipulates a labeling requirement if a food contains more than 0.9 percent genetically modified components. Agricultural products whose genetically modified components are incidental or technically unavoidable and which do not exceed the 0.9 percent limit do not have to be labeled.

The labeling requirement applies not only to packaged goods, but also to loose goods.

Under European genetic engineering law, however, meat, milk and eggs from animals that have received feed from genetically modified plants are not subject to labeling. The Federal Government advocates comprehensive consumer protection also at European level and thus for complete labeling also in the case of production with genetic engineering. In order to close this gap in Germany in the meantime, the voluntary "Ohne Gentechnik" labeling of food was introduced in 2008.

No genetically modified plants in Germany

No genetically modified plants have been grown commercially in Germany since 2012. The "GM tomato" does not exist.

According to European law, a genetically modified plant must meet strict conditions in order to be approved for commercial cultivation. This includes, in particular, proof that the plant does not have any harmful effects on humans, animals or the environment according to current scientific knowledge. In addition, a process must be available with which the genetically modified plant can be identified at any time and also detected in seeds, food and feed. Currently, only two genetically modified plants are allowed to be grown commercially in the EU: Bt maize "MON 810" and the potato "Amflora".

Worldwide cultivation of genetic engineering plants

Five genetically modified crops are currently being grown around the world: soybeans, maize, cotton, rapeseed and sugar beet. The main producers are the USA, Argentina, Brazil, India, China and Canada. However, these agricultural products may only be imported into the EU if they have one of the currently 50 import permits.

Many of these plants are mainly used as animal feed. Foodstuffs, on the other hand, only contain - if at all - processed products from these plants. For example fats, oils or starch.

How widespread is genetic engineering in animal feed?

Much of the feed for farm animals in Germany - especially wheat, barley, maize, grass - is grown in Germany and is therefore GM-free. In the case of protein-rich feed, however, domestic production cannot meet the demand. That is why Germany and the EU import around 35 million tonnes of soybeans, mostly genetically modified, from North and South America each year.

Genetically modified feed is harmless

According to the current state of research, genetically modified feed does not have a negative effect on the milk, meat or eggs of the animals. The genetically modified food components - just like non-genetically modified ones - are broken down into small fragments in the digestive tract. It is considered extremely unlikely that the genetically modified feed components such as DNA or proteins lead to the transmission of resistances or to trigger allergies.