GMO ingredient database promises full supply chain traceability

By Louis Gore-Langton

- Last updated on GMT

 ©iStock
©iStock

Related tags European union

Food Chain ID Europe is developing “the most comprehensive” database of supply chain information aimed at tracing and identifying GMO ingredients.

Using cloud-based software food industry professionals can share and track the source of their ingredients against an expanding database.

Currently containing information on over 43,000 different ingredients with 500 registered GMO risks, the ‘inSYTE’ database aims to “provide compliance to industry regulations on product traceability and supply chain monitoring” ​according to the company’s website.

It is currently used by retailers Waitrose and Marks & Spencer in the UK.

An inSYTE spokesperson told FoodNavigator "supplier membership starts at £295 per company, which gives full access to the evaluated Non-GMO ingredient database. Extra costs are associated with submitting ingredients and sites to be evaluated for Non-GMO traceability and compliance to retailer policy."

GMO traceability and regulation

Since many European consumers are reluctant to buy products containing GMO ingredients, for both environmental and health concerns, the importance of identifying and distinguishing non-GMO ingredients is high. A study by market researcher Health Foods in 2015 found that 87% of consumers globally believe non-GMO products to be healthier.

EU legislation requires GM food to be labelled although this does not apply to animal products fed on a GM diet.

IP management

Food Chain ID Europe says inSYTE can be used by retailers, suppliers, growers, importers, exporters, finished food manufacturers, traders, agents and brokers. ​Users upload product information to be cross-checked against the database for analysis by a team of technical experts.

Identity protection for non-GM ingredients can then be ensured on inSYTE through “technical reviews on testing results, batch traceability certificates, safety datasheets, food safety certifications and other documents”.

Tougher labelling laws on the way?

If the EU decides to tighten the rules on GMO labelling and products, there could be less need for such databases. However, as it stands, European regulation provides enough leeway for GMO compounds to enter the food supply.

Besides allowing animal products fed on GMO-produced feed, the EU legislation (which dates from 2004) also gives exception to the mass catering industry.

Belgian MEP Frédérique Ries recently posed questions to the European Commission, pressing it to update and alter these regulations, close the loopholes and improve supply chain transparency.

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