Work is under way by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre to identify appropriate sampling and testing methods for the presence of pollen in honey. The research follows the European Court of Justice’s recent ruling on pollen and its implications for the enforcement of legislation on GM food.
September saw the ECJ, the highest court in the bloc, decree that honey containing traces of pollen from genetically modified (GM) plants must receive prior authorisation before it can be sold as food in the EU.
Prior to the ECJ’s decision, foodstuffs containing honey were not required to declare the presence of pollen on their labels.
The Commission’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCOFAH) met last week to discuss the implication of the ECJ ruling, with committee member, the UK’s Food Standards Agency, revealing the outcome of those discussions to FoodNavigator.com
According to the FSA, the SCOFAH group said that honey should not contain pollen from GM sources, unless the pollen has the appropriate authorisation for food use in the EU.
The committee members also decided that if some or all of the pollen is from an approved GM source and if the total pollen content exceeds the 0.9% threshold allowed for adventitious presence, it should also be labelled accordingly.
The FSA said it will discuss the issue further with the Commission on 14 November.