Sampling food and feed for genetically modified (GM) material: Guidance for enforcement officers

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) supplementary guidance on the sampling of GM food and feed for enforcement officers, following a European Commission (EC) Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) Mission to the UK in June 2006.

The Mission was carried out with respect to the implementation of the EC Regulation on Genetically Modified Food and Feed (EC 1829/2003) and the Traceability and Labelling of Genetically Modified Organisms (EC 1830/2003). The Inspection Report of the Mission, GMOs: Controls on food and feed, is available on the Commission website.

One of the recommendations arising from the Mission was for the FSA to provide detailed guidance to officers responsible for the sampling of food and feed for the presence of GM material.

The FVO Mission suggested that there is a need for guidelines to be provided to enforcement authorities. Public Analysts have also noted that many of the samples presented for testing for the presence of GM material do not contain DNA for a number of technical reasons, thus the presence of ingredients from GMOs cannot be detected.

This guidance note is supplementary to the original guidance on the regulations, issued by the FSA and the Department for Food and Rural Affairs in 2004, and highlights available information on sampling, and provides advice on the most appropriate samples for analysing GM material in food and feed. There has been no change to the legislation or to the responsibilities of enforcement authorities. It is the responsibility of enforcement authorities to decide on their priorities when sampling food and feed.

The FSA has also taken this opportunity to update the two-page enforcement summary document outlining the scope of the European Union regulations for GM Food and Feed (1829/2003) and Traceability and Labelling (1830/2003) of GMOs that was published in 2004. This summary can be found at Annex B of the guidance note at the link below.