All food and feed containing any genetically modified ingredients must be labelled as such from April 2004 under new rules from the European Commission.

The Food Standard Agency and DEFRA will issue a joint consultation on the draft domestic legislation to implement these regulations at the end of the year.

A threshold of 0.9% will apply for the accidental presence of GM material and a 0.5% threshold for the presence of GM material that has not been approved for use in Europe. This latter threshold will apply for three years.

The regulations will not apply to food produced using GM processing aids such as some cheeses or products from animals fed GM animal feed.

Risk assessment of GM foods will be centralised through the European Food Safety Authority and if granted, will be for 10 years.

Two regulations on traceability and labelling were also adopted for the documentation needed to trace GM products throughout the supply chain.