Large majority in favour of labeling new GMO

- 70 percent of people in Germany who have heard of new genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR want compulsory labeling of foods produced with them. Across the EU, 68 percent are in favour. This was the result of a recent survey.

Demonstration against GMOs, Photo: Green Party Baden-Württemberg (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The market research institute Ipsos conducted a representative survey on behalf of the Green Group in the European Parliament (EP) in February and March 2021 in all 27 EU member states. According to the survey, around half of the respondents in Germany (47 percent) had already heard of the new genetic engineering methods. Genetically modified (GM) plants in general were known to 72 percent in Germany, 85 percent of whom want them to be labeled. 78 percent also want this for products of animal origin that have been produced with GM feed. There is still no such labeling requirement. This "labeling gap" is closed by the VLOG's "Ohne GenTechnik" ("Non GMO") seal and similar voluntary labels in other EU countries.

For consumers and EU judges, new GMO are also GMO

These figures are particularly significant in view of the publication of an EU Commission study on the future regulation of new GMO, announced for the end of April. They make it clear that exemptions for "gene editing" plants, as demanded by manufacturers and their supporters, would be in clear contradiction to the interests of consumers. The vast majority of them regard the new genetic engineering processes as genetic engineering in the same way as the previous ones.

Do not weaken the laws

This was also the view of Europe's top judges from the European Court of Justice in their 2018 ruling, in which they stated that the same rules for approval, risk assessment and labeling apply to new GMO. The EU would therefore do well to maintain these proven rules and not to undermine consumer wishes and the ECJ ruling by softening laws.

Greens: EU Commission must respect consumer wishes

In this sense, Green MEP Martin Häusling also comments on the survey results: "Where there is GMO in it, there must also be GMO on it. The European Commission must respect the will of consumers for transparency about GMOs and new methods of genetic engineering in food."

Apply and further develop detection methods

The EU seed association Euroseeds once again questioned the feasibility of regulating "gene editing" plants due to an alleged lack of detection methods. However, VLOG, together with other organizations, already presented a first such detection procedure for a "gene editing" rapeseed in September 2020. Authorities should soon integrate the procedure into their controls and develop it further.

Greens/EFA: Opinion poll on the labeling of GM crops (30.March 2021)

Martin Häusling MEP: New Europe-wide survey: large majority in favour of mandatory labeling of GM crops (30 March 2021)

Euractiv: Report: majority of consumers want compulsory labelling on all genetically modified food (07 April 2021)

VLOG: First open source detection test for a gene-edited GM crop (07 September 2020)