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3-Food: Labelling and negative list



Title: 3-Food: Labelling and negative list

Article 2 of the EU Regulation for the labelling of genetically modfied soya and maize (1139/98) sub 2 states:
"However, foods and food ingredients referred to in the first paragraph in which neither protein nor DNA resulting from genetic modification is [......] present shall not be subject to specific labelling requirements [.....]

The regulation opens the opportunity to establish a nagetive list of ingredients that shall not be subject to specific labelling requirements. However, it does not mention yet which ingredients.

In order to establish a concrete negative list the Scientific Committee on Foods has been asked for an opinion. The SCF expressed it's opinion on this issue on June 17, 1999. The results can be found at the website of DG24 of the European Commission: (http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg24/health/sc/scf/out33_en.html).

The conclusions regarding 'highly refined oils' are worthwhile reading:

1. The term 'highly refined oil' has not yet been unambiguously defined.

2. DNA and protein can be found not only in cold-pressed but in principle also in refined oils. The amounts in refined oils are however very low, but in certain cases detectable. Residual protein was detected in refined maize oils in deifferent laboratories at a level below 100 g/ml. In the cases of extracts of oils derived from 100% GMO soybeans, transgenic DNA could be detetected.

3. At present it is not possible tot unambiguously specify which refining process would ensure that DNA/protein are removed efficiently enough to be detectable.

4, Some refining processes used by industry today may ensure that DNA/protein are efficiently removed. There is no guarantee however that these processes are commonly applied.

5. The information presently available does not allow to say what type of oils could be included in the (negative) list.

Rgearding products derived from starch:

1. In native starch, protein is present in small amounts. The level of GMO protein can be estimated at 0.22 ppb.

2. In starch hydrolysates the level of CryIA(b) protein, (Bt-protein), can be estimated at 0.03 ppb. Such a value is considered below the limit of detection but presently not validated analytical detection methods are available to test the presence of these (new) proteins or fragments thereof.

3. In industrial samples of maize starch, maize DNA is present and can be detected.

4. No DNA can be detected in starch hydrolysates as final product or in samples taken at different stages of production.

5. Some refining processes used by industry today may ensure that DNA/protein are efficiently removed. There is no guarantee however that these processes are commonly applied.


Huib de Vriend
stichting Consument en Biotechnologie
Postbus 1000
2500 BA Den Haag
The Netherlands
phone: +31 70 44 54 498
fax: +31 70 44 54 592