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EU Court of Justice Rules on Products Containing GMO Pollen

6 September, 2011: The EU Court of Justice has ruled that products containing pollen derived from genetically modified organisms (GMO) have to be considered the same as foodstuffs produced from GMOs, and cannot be sold without prior authorization.

The ruling refers to a case regarding the detection of GMO pollen in honey produced by an amateur beekeper. The court ruled that honey containing pollen from GMO plants has to be considered a foodstuff derived from GMO, even though the pollen itself is no longer considered a GMO when it has lost its capability to reproduce or is totally incapable of transferring genetic material.

The Court holds that pollen has to be considered a normal ingredient of honey, and that honey containing GMO-derived ingredients falls under the authorization scheme for foodstuffs containing ingredients produced from GMOs, irrespective of whether the pollen is introduced intentionally or adventitiously into the honey. Furthermore, the Court holds that the authorization obligation exists irrespective of the proportion of GMO derived material in the product in question. [EU Court of Justice Press Release] [EU Court of Justice Ruling]