Since the first approvals of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) more than 20 years ago, the number of worldwide GMO approvals has increased considerably. Nowadays, food and feed laboratories must take into account over 150 GMOs, in order to guarantee their customers secured analysis results.
Screening methods are essential under these conditions, in order to clarify in an initial analysis step, whether GMO constituents are present in a sample.
At the same time some countries approve and plant many GMOs, other countries are far more restrictive with the approval of new GMOs. This creates an asynchronous approval situation, which can be cumbersome for the marketability of products in countries with stricter regulations.
If a sample contains GMO constituents, the next question is usually whether these are approved or non-approved GMOs.
In different countries, diverse labelling thresholds apply for GMO constituents in food and feed. If these given thresholds are exceeded, the GMO content has to be appropriately indicated on the product label. In the European Union (EU), a threshold for approved GMOs in food and feed of 0.9% applies, above which products must labelled. Below this threshold, the labelling requirement does not apply provided that the GMO admixture is adventitious and technically unavoidable. Quantitative methods help to answer the question of whether a product must be labelled or not.
Also, for the determination of the marketability of products, which contain non-approved GMOs, quantitative analyses might be necessary. Some non-approved GMOs are tolerated below a threshold of 0.1% in feed according to Regulation (EU) No. 619/2011. Here, too, the condition applies that the GMO presence must be adventitious and technically unavoidable.