Genfood - in the supermarket?

When it comes to genetic engineering in food, most consumers are very skeptical. Do we already find GM food in the supermarket? How do I recognize genetically modified foods? These are critical questions many consumers ask themselves. Years ago, the "anti-slush tomato" triggered the first discussion about GM foods. Since then, our fruits and vegetables are critically eyed.

But until today, there is no plant in the fruit and vegetable shelf that is suitable for direct consumption, in genetically modified form. However, there is a widespread spread of some genetically modified crops such as soy and corn. Do we also find these in our food? And how do we recognize them?

Clear labeling necessary

Genetically modified food must be clearly and clearly labeled in accordance with legislation. When it comes to genetic food, the label must say "genetically modified" or "made from genetically modified ....". At present, German supermarket shelves rarely contain foodstuffs with this information, because only a few genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been approved in Germany so far. At most, food in the shopping basket ends up with the following ingredients:

  • Oil from genetically modified soybeans or genetically modified oilseed rape
  • Starch from genetically modified maize
  • Grape sugar from genetically modified corn starch
  • Lecithin from genetically modified soybeans
  • Aroma from genetically modified soy protein.

Anyone who thinks they are safe to live in a GM food-free zone, however, must be disappointed.

Impurity inevitable

Genetic engineering is most prevalent among major crops such as soy, corn, canola and cotton. Thus, about 60% of the world's soybeans are produced from genetically modified varieties. Especially soy and corn are the basis for many food ingredients. Margarine production oil, emulsifier lecithin and vitamin E are often made from soybeans. Corn starch serves, among other things, as a starting substance for the production of glucose and glucose syrup.

If food ingredients from raw materials of genetically modified plants are used, they are generally subject to labeling. Given that the world wide supply of genetically modified plants makes it virtually impossible to avoid contamination of conventional products, the legislator set a threshold of 0.9%. This means that labeling is not necessary if

  • it is an unintended contamination with genetically modified plants
  • the proportion of the respective amount of the affected ingredient is not more than 0.9 percent.
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