European supplements industry shackled by GMO laws

New European Union labelling laws requiring full traceability of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have received a lukewarm welcome from supplements industry leaders who claim the regulations are overly time consuming, costly and in many cases unworkable.

Under the rules, effective April 18, products with ingredients that cannot demonstrate they are free from GMOs—even if the product itself contains no detectable GMO matter—will have to carry GMO warnings. Such products that in the past have borne ?GMO-free? labelling will be forced to provide proof. If they can, these products will be permitted to carry non-GMO labels.

Companies trading in ingredients like natural source vitamin E—almost exclusively derived from GM soy—will be forced to run the risk of incurring consumer rejection by opting for GMO labelling, using inferior-quality synthetic vitamin E or pulling products from the market.

?The problem with this legislation is that traceability is not always possible, but is always extremely costly,? said food law consultant Peter Berry Ottoway. ?Supplement manufacturers will have to stop sourcing raw materials from any suppliers who cannot guarantee 100 per cent traceability. Not many suppliers can do this.?

Cheryl Thallon, owner and director of UK-based supplements manufacturer Viridian, backed the legislation. ?We?re delighted that products now have to be genuinely non-GMO by going way back to the seed, which is good news for consumers and ethical brands. For this reason we are taking natural source vitamin E out of all of our multivitamins and antioxidant formula because we can?t guarantee it is not GMO contaminated.?

Solgar UK and UK-based NBTY-owned supplier and retailer Holland and Barrett said they were busy preparing the necessary traceability paperwork and were weighing their options in regard to vitamin E.

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