GM food labels will 'confuse and concern' UK consumers

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Related tags: Vitamin c, Bacteria, Bread, Gm

"A huge percentage" of UK packaged food and drink would need genetically modified (GM) labels if consumers and environmental lobby groups' latest...

"A huge percentage" of UK packaged food and drink would need genetically modified (GM) labels if consumers and environmental lobby groups' latest demands are granted, food law experts have warned.
According to consumer research commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), there is "widespread support for labelling of all GM food products, including where GM is used as a processing aid or in animal feed"
But this would open up "an enormous can of worms" and merely serve to confuse the public, said one senior executive at an enzyme manufacturer, adding: "Consumers are completely unaware of how widely used genetically modified micro-organisms (GMMOs) are in the production of food."
Currently, foods made with processing aids obtained using GM technology, for example chymosin (an enzyme derived from a GM yeast used in cheese production), do not require GM labels.
If this were to change, as the Soil Association is now demanding, scores of products made with ingredients derived using fermentation technology based on GMMOs would get GM labels, he said. That would include everything from beer to bread and soft drinks.
He added: "Large amounts of baked goods in the UK use enzymes derived from GM bacteria as processing aids as they help to soften it. Fruit juice processors also use enzymes that are produced from a GMMO. But it's important to understand that the enzyme itself is not 'GM' and there is no GM material in the final product. Using the term GM on the final product label would only confuse consumers."
Neville Craddock, a food law expert and former regulatory affairs director at Nestlé UK, added: "If you really wanted to label all foods made with GM in the widest possible definition, it would be utterly impossible, and probably utterly meaningless."
Currently, additives, flavourings and vitamins produced by fermentation using a GMMO do not have to be labelled if the GMMO is not present in the final product.
For example, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) widely used as an antioxidant, flour improving agent and an ingredient to inhibit discolouration in fruit products is manufactured through several methods, including glucose fermentation using GM bacteria.

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