The Food Magazine - Click to return to the home page

GM ingredients escape labelling laws

April 1999

Over thirty five ingredients and additives derived from genetically modified crops are present in our foods but do not need labelling, according to a report from the Food Commission, a non-profit public interest group.

A list of the more common derivatives permitted in our food is published in their journal, The Food Magazine, today.

'With many companies falling over themselves to declare they are "GM Free" it is important to be sure they don't just mean "GM labelling free",' said Food Commission co-director, Dr Tim Lobstein. 'The labelling laws are very weak, and allow many GM-derived ingredients to escape without labelling.'

Examples include the common colouring ammoniated caramel (E150), the flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (E621), vitamin B2 (E101), and emulsifiers, sugars, starches, oils, gums, yeasts, enzymes and tomato paste -- all of which can be derived from genetically modified sources.

Several companies have announced they will be avoiding these GM derivatives, including Iceland and Waitrose supermarkets, and McVities and Weetabix. 'We welcome these moves and hope the companies will put these policies into practice,' said Dr Lobstein. 'But if shoppers want to be doubly sure then at present they should buy organic products, as these are guaranteed GM free -- even the milk and eggs must come from animals that have not been fed with GM material.'