Eu inspections of gm content in food and feed: Are they effective?

Francisco J. Areal, Laura Riesgo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


We investigate the effectiveness of inspecting regimes in controlling food and feed products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) non-compliant with European Commission (EC) regulations (i.e., a food/feed import containing above the 0.9% GM content threshold for food and at or above 0.1% for feed allowed by the EC regulations but not (or incorrectly) labelled or food/feed imports containing unauthorized GMOs). We collate information at the country level from EC official reports on the number of samples and cases of non-compliance identified by official controls conducted by European Member States (MS). We analyze the probability of finding non-compliant food/feed imports for a number of MS countries between 2000 and 2013, by using a hierarchical model, which interlinks the number of samples taken (i.e., inspections) with interceptions of non-compliant products. Results show that the probability of finding imported products non-compliant with EC’s GMO regulations in food and feed varies among MS countries but, in most cases, is relatively high. For instance, for imported food products in 2004, the probability of the rate of intercepting non-compliant food products being above 5% and 10% in France was 99% and 70%, respectively. However, whereas countries such as Sweden, Portugal, and Austria also show a high rate of intercepting non-compliant food, other countries such as Germany and Spain show a very low probability of finding imported food products being non-compliant. For imported feed products, the overall probability of rate of intercepting non-compliant feed products being above 5% and 10% per country and year was even higher than for imported food products (e.g., 100% in the case of Hungary in 2005). The European Union regulation needs to guide MS adequately in order to establish the optimal level of inspections, guaranteeing consumers’ freedom of choice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number842
Number of pages18
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

Cite this