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Use of gene technologies to create new genetically modified (GM) or genetically engineered (GE) foods is expanding.

The NSW Food Authority has led development of a compliance and monitoring strategy for GM foods on behalf of the Implementation Sub Committee for Food Regulation (ISFR).

ISFR helps coordinate consistent implementation and enforcement of food standards among Australian states and territories.

Strategy for compliance and monitoring

This strategy helps states and territories adopt a consistent, science-based and uniform approach for GM foods to:

  • encourage compliance by the food industry
  • monitor compliance.

The strategy sets out its scope, principles, elements including industry education, surveillance and response protocol and evaluation:

National Surveillance Program for genetically modified foods

In 2012, a national survey as part of the national compliance and monitoring strategy, undertaken on behalf of the Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation, was initiated to assess the level of industry compliance with Standard 1.5.2 Food Produced Using Gene Technology.

The survey assessed 183 samples from 115 businesses, with specific focus on foods containing corn and soy as these represent the predominant genetically modified crops grown worldwide.

The purpose of the survey was to look at the methods and processes businesses have in place to demonstrate their compliance with GM labelling requirements of the Code and to guide and assist jurisdictions in determining the focus of future monitoring and surveillance of GM food in the Australian food supply.

The Food Authority conducted a follow up survey of NSW products and found that of the 26 products tested all were compliant with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code 1.5.2 in relation to GM labelling.

The Authority has also led production of a guide for businesses on complying with the standard, for national use: