Feed without GMO-content
EU legislation is restrictive with regards to approving the cultivation and import of GMO crops. The use of GMOs in feed is however common in the EU, mainly soya feed, and production mainly takes place outside of the EU.1 For soya 78% of the globally cultivated area is for genetically modified crops.2 Contracting authorities that aim to avoid GMOs being used in the production of foodstuffs of animal origin can request that products should come from animals that have not eaten GMO fodder.
- Technical specification
- Milk and dairy from cows
Product of animal origin must be derived from animals whose feed used in the breeding did not contain GMOs in amounts that require labelling according to Directive 2001/18/EC Article 30.2.
- Certification for feed that meets the requirement, e.g., Pro Terra or other certification showing that the requirement is met.
- Certification for food products that meet the requirement, e.g., IP Sigill, VLOG ”Ohne gentechnik”, or other certification showing that the requirement is met.
- Other documentation showing that the requirement has been met, for example Importer's declaration from the slaughterhouse.
Monitoring of compliance during the contract period can for example be done through sampling at one or several occasions of one or several products for which the criterion applies. The supplier can prove that the product(s) meet the requirement through, e.g,:
- Product labelling, e.g., IP Sigill, Ohne gentechnik, or other labels showing that the requirement is met.
- Feed certificates or feed analysis.
- Other written documentation showing that the requirement is met.
Information about the criterion
Without GMO-content means that the admixture does not exceed the 0.9% amount that requires labelling in accordance with Directive 2001/18/EC, article 30.2.
Note that organic production does not allow GMOs and that criteria for organic products excludes the need to specify that GMO-free feed must be used. Accordingly, an organic product does not need to show that the requirement for GMO admixture is met beyond the organic certification itself.
Note that market avalability for products that fulfil criteria at the spearhead level may be severely limited. A market analysis needs to ensure available products before the criterion is used.
GMO is an abbreviation of Genetically Modified Organism and is defined in Council Directive 2001/18/EC as an organism 'in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.'1 Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed controls the approval of food and animal feed that contains or is produced using GMOs. Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 regulates the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms as well as traceability of food and animal feed which is produced using genetically modified organisms.
In order for a genetically modified product to be able to be sold in the European market, authorisation must be granted jointly by the EU member states.2 Approval is connected to the requirement that products with a GMO content exceeding 0.9% must be labelled, including feed products. The European Commission keeps a complete register of the products containing genetically modified organisms that are approved for feed, import and cultivation in the EU. These crops include soya, rapeseed, maize and sugar beet. No GM-soya is currently approved for cultivation within the EU, the GM soya used in animal feed is produced outside of the EU3. Products from animals that have eaten GMO feed do not need to be labelled, since the product itself does not contain any genetically modified organisms, even though GMOs have been used in production.4 The use of EU-approved GMO crops in feed is common in the EU.5
Genetic engineering can be used in different ways and with different purposes. Genetically modified organisms in agriculture and food production is at the same time widely debated. On the one hand genetic engineering is considered to have potential to contribute positively to the food system and the current restrictive regulations is considered to constrain its development, by many in the scientific society6. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) however states that GMOs are not a solution to the world’s hunger problems7. Currently, GMOs in agriculture exist mainly as pesticide and herbicide resistant crops8 which are cultivate in large scale and commonly in monocultures9.
More than 90 percent of the cultivated area of soy in Brazil is cultivated with herbicide resitant crops, maily glyphosate tolerant ones10. Glyphosate-tolerant soy makes it possible to spray the crop during the whole growing phase, which is not possible in non-tolerant crops. This increases the use of glyphosate and the risk of residues in harvested GMO-soy. Official statistics show that the use of glyphosate, but also paraquat, 2,4-D, diuron and clomazone has increased considerably during the last years11. Other active ingredients than glyphosate are needed in order to combat weeds that have become resistent to glyphosate. Paraquat has also come to substitute glyphosate in order to wither the crop just before harvesting, since glyphosate can not be used for this purpouse in a glyphosate-tolerant crop 12. Paraquat as an active ingredient is prohibited within the EU. The approval of glyphosate in EU is currently reconsidered. In the re-examination of the approval the substance effect on biodiversity will be considered by Sweden among other EU member states. Current knowledge is maily regarding effects on the quantity of flowering plants in the agricultural landscape, but also more structural changes such as decreased diversity in crop-rotation and impoverishment of genetical resoourses are important for biodiversity. The latter problem för biodiversity is particularly prominent in the glyphosate-tolerant soy cultivation in Brasil13.
Some scientists claim that more research is needed to determine the long-term and joint effects of GMOs on sustainable development14. This doesn’t prevent the possibility that a future sustainable food system could contain crops produced using genetic engineering.
Since 2015 it is possible for individual member states in the EU to restrict or prohibit cultivation of GMO-crops, this has been done in for example France, Germany and Austria15. The national prohibitions does not apply to importation of food or animal feed. According to the Norwegian law on genetic engineering, cultivation and imports of genetically modified organisms must only be allowed if it is expected to contribute positively to sustainable development and benefit the society. There are no approved GMOs on the Norwegian market, no animal feed, nor seeds or food products16 In Sweden, there is no prohibition but no cultivation for commercial purposes exists17.
In Swedish agriculture, there is a voluntary agreement between the Swedish feed industry, industry organisations and food producers, in which the feed companies only supply feed without GMO to the producers and also require compliance from their suppliers18. Swedish slaughterhouses also require that producers assure that feed given to animals does not contain GMO. 19 A similar agreement exists within Finnish milk production20.
Several environmental organisations advocate a precautionary principle regarding GMOs, and emphasise that the opportunity for market participants to provide consumers with GMO-free alternatives should be maintained 21 and that many certification systems, both organic and conventional production, forbid the use of GMOs in feed22.
2 Since 2015, it has been possible for individual member states to limit or prohibit the cultivation of GMO crops.
13 Kemikalieinspektionen, personal message, 2020
The version date indicates when the sustainability criterion was created or last updated. Last reviewed dated tells when we last checked that the sustainability criterion still is relevant.
- Current ID
- Version date
2020-03-25: Changed name from GMO-free feed. Also changed from "free from" to without content in the text. Added "ohne gentechnik" in verification. 2016-12-19: Changed type from award criterion to technical specification