`Non-GMO Labeling for Olive Oil a Non-Issue - Olive Oil Times

Non-GMO Labeling for Olive Oil a Non-Issue

Sep. 21, 2015
Liliana Scarafia - Agbiolab

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At Agbiolab we have received sev­eral inquiries about non-GMO cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of olive oil, mostly from pro­duc­ers who are deal­ing with retail­ers that require it. We do pro­vide GMO tests for seed and foods as part of our DNA genetic ser­vices, and are aware of the GMO label­ing con­tro­versy. Here is our attempt to pro­vide some answers to olive oil pro­duc­ers and buy­ers:

1. The GMO con­tro­versy is not related to olive oil. Currently, there are no GMO olive cul­ti­vars in any com­mer­cial orchard or nurs­ery any­where in the world.

2. However, enzymes that could be option­ally used as adju­vants in olive milling (e.g. pecti­nases) may or may not be GMO. Therefore, if olives have been processed with no addi­tion of enzymes, con­sumers may rest assured that the oil pro­duced is GMO-free.

3. Since canola and corn and other seed crops may be GMO, any adul­ter­ated olive oil may be GMO.

4. According to the USDA def­i­n­i­tion of organic foods, any organic olive oil should be non-GMO, since the def­i­n­i­tion of organic” pre­cludes the use of GMO adju­vant enzymes in the milling.

The test­ing of olive oil for non-GMO cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is pos­si­ble but labo­ri­ous. Yet, non-GMO food cer­ti­fi­ca­tions can­not state that the food is entirely GMO free. For instance foods labeled non-GMO” may law­fully con­tain very low lev­els, insignif­i­cant or unde­tectable, of GMO mate­r­ial.

Similarly, a non-GMO label does not mean that the food has been pro­duced solely by non-GMO inputs. For exam­ple a pig fed GMO soy­bean early in its life, but not in the months imme­di­ately prior to slaugh­ter, may yield cer­ti­fied, non-GMO-labeled pork meat.

For olive oils, there are no dis­tinc­tions between GMO-free and non-GMO. Their mean­ing is exactly the same. The issue is straight­for­ward and cer­tain. If no other oil has been blended in, nor any enzyme adju­vant used in milling, the olive oil pro­duced is truly GMO-free. Therefore, assur­ances to the prospec­tive buyer, if still in doubt, rest on the authenticity/genuineness of the oil which can be ascer­tained by chem­i­cal tests.

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