Q&A: What are the rules about labelling GM food on menus?

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Related tags: Maize

I have heard a lot about GM foods lately. I understand there are some regulations in place in respect of providing information on menus. Is this...

I have heard a lot about GM foods lately. I understand there are some regulations in place in respect of providing information on menus. Is this correct?

The Food Labelling (Amendment) Regulations 1999 came into force on March 18, 1999 stating that from September 19, 1999 any items on a menu containing genetically modified soya and/or maize must be clearly labelled. These regulations are applicable to all food outlets selling or serving food to the public, including pubs.

If a product on your menu contains genetically modified soya or genetically modified maize the menu must state this.

The guidance to the regulations recommends several ways of informing your customers, for example explaining in a note on the menu that foods marked with an asterix contain ingredients produced from genetically modified soya and/or maize.

You cannot simply state that some products "may contain genetically modified soya and/or maize". You must obtain all the relevant information from your suppliers to allow you to ensure that your menu is accurate. If you wish to state that all your foods are GM free you must be absolutely sure that this is correct.

Finally, if you use a blackboard as your menu and your items are constantly changing, you may be able to make a general statement such as "some of the foods may contain ingredients from genetically modified soya and/or maize. Please ask staff for details".

Ensure that your staff have detailed knowledge of these products so they can answer any queries. If you are unsure as to any suitable wording then contact your local environmental health officer.

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