Biotech Updates

France Defines "GMO Free"

November 27, 2009

As requested by French Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, and Consumer Affairs, the country's High Biotech Council (HBC) has released a document defining "GMO-free" production. HBC, composed of a scientific and a socio-economic committee, is in charge of advising the French Government on a wide range of biotech issues.

The HBC detailed biotech-free conditions for three categories of products:

  • For plant products, the HBC recommended that a "GMO-free" label be attributed to products containing less than 0.1 percent transgenic DNA.
  • For animal products, the HBC recommended that the label "fed on GMO-free feed" or "derived from animals fed without GM feed" be reserved to products derived from animals fed on feed containing less than 0.1 percent transgenic DNA.
  • For apiculture products, the HCB recommended that "biotech-free" label be based on a minimum distance between the apiary and fields of biotech crops, to be set by public authorities.

A report by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service notes that the French Ministries of Ecology, Agriculture, and Economy are preparing a decree to be published in the Official Journal regulating "GMO-free" labeling. The report says that the decree is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2010. French authorities previously required a 0.01 percent threshold, making labeling non feasible.

Download a copy of the document at A summary of the USDA FAS report is available at