Thought Of The Day
“If I have harmed anyone, in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me, in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusions, I forgive them.
And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive, I forgive myself for that
For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusions, I forgive myself.”
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Traceability of the GMOs

By Manon Godot, January 2010

The Labelling and Traceability Regulation (Regulation 1830/2003) covers all GMOs that have received EU authorisation for their placing on the market. That is all products, including food and feed, containing or consisting of GMOs, or that are derived from a GMO. This includes for instance tomato paste and ketchup produced from a genetically modified tomato or flour produced from a genetically modified maize. The traceability rules oblige all persons (operators) who place a product on the market or receive a product placed on the market within the EU, to be able to identify their supplier and the companies to which the products have been supplied. The traceability requirement varies depending on whether the product consists of or contains GMOs (Article 4) or has been produced from GMOs (Article 5).

In the case of a product consisting of or containing GMOs: operators must transmit in writing to the operator receiving the product:  an indication that the product, or some of its ingredients, contains or consists of GMOs and the unique identifier assigned to those GMOs, in the case of products containing or consisting of GMOs. In the case of products produced from GMOs: operators must transmit in writing to the operator receiving the product: an indication of each of the food ingredients which are produced from GMOs; an indication of each of the feed materials or additives which are produced from GMOs; In the case of products for which no list of ingredients exists, an indication that the product is produced from GMOs. In both cases, operators must hold the information for a period of five years from each transaction and be able to identify the operator by whom and to whom the products have been made available. Each operator must keep records and make the information available to the public authorities on demand. Transmission and record-keeping of this information will reduce the need for sampling and testing of products.

GMOs are identified by a code that is specific to them, similar to a barcode. This code is called “unique identifier”, which makes it possible to identify easily a specific GMO on a product’s labelling. The code is uniform and made up with letters and numbers enabling each product type to be identified precisely.

According  to the European Union, “All GMOs must be assessed before they can be sown or placed on the market. This risk assessment is carried out on a case-by-case basis and examines the expected or unexpected possible effects that the GMO is likely to have on health and on the environment. Therefore, effects linked to a GMO’s potential toxicity/allergenicity or its effects on non-target organisms for example are evaluated by national and Community scientific bodies (including the European Food Safety Authority). Once GMO products have been authorised to be placed on the market (Directive 2001/18/EC or Regulation 1829/2003), the appropriate identifier unique to each GMO must be included on the labelling. The identifier is made up of 9 characters, including letters and numbers, combined in a uniform way. This format was approved within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The identifier for each specific GMO is therefore listed in the OECD’s BioTrack database.”

The purpose of the unique identifier is to facilitate the traceability of products which contain GMOs throughout the food chain.


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