The legal framework for the production, labelling and monitoring of GMO-free produced food is defined in the “Directive Defining the ‘GMO-free Production’ of Food and its Labelling” in the regulations of the Austrian Codex Alimentarius.
This directive also foresees the possibility for exemption clauses for the usage of certain ingredients. Such exemption clauses can be agreed on upon the recommendation of an expert group provided for by the directive; formally approved exceptions are continually published on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health („Recommendations“).
The requirements for monitoring of GMO-free production are regulated by the Guideline on Risk-Based Monitoring of Freedom from GMO – developed and published by the accreditation authority of the Ministry of Economy.
On 1 May 2008, the German legislature passed a bill containing a new national regulation for food products to be labelled as “Without GMO”. This regulation is largely based on the Austrian one.
Based on this new regulation, producers of milk, eggs and meat are allowed to put the German label “Without GMO” on their products – provided that they have been feeding their animals with GMO-free feed for a clearly defined period of time. Therefore, producers have to buy feed that is not subject to be labelled according to the European regulations 1829/2003 and 1830/2003, as it does not contain any genetically engineered components. Impurities lower than 0,9% caused by genetically engineered plants are tolerated if these are coincidental and cannot be prevented technically. Feed additives such as amino acids, vitamins or veterinary drugs are not registered by the labelling directive.
However, concerning additives, vitamins and enzymes in food, the same specifications as in the EU Organic Regulation apply – meaning that the usage of any ingredients that have been produced with the help of genetic engineering procedures is prohibited.
The German labelling organisation VLOG e.V, (Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik) in fall 2013 has also established clear specifications for monitoring of food and feed production to be labelled as “Without GMO”.
Verordnung zur "Ohne Gentechnik"-Kennzeichnung (pdf; 92 KB)