Genetically modified (GM) foods to be sold in Singapore have to undergo rigorous safety assessments by both the Singapore Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA). These assessments are based on the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s (Codex) principles established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
There is no international consensus on mandatory labelling of GM food and food that contains GM ingredients. In countries where GM labelling is mandatory, it serves the purpose of allowing consumers to make informed choice and is not intended to convey information about food safety since these countries would have conducted safety assessments on the GM foods before they are allowed on the market. There is also no internationally agreed threshold level of genetic material in a food product to make labelling obligatory.
In line with the Codex’s principles, the current Singapore Food Regulations do not require GM food and food that contains GM ingredients to be specifically labelled. GM foods, like all other food products, must meet existing food labelling requirements with regard to product information as well as information to facilitate tracing and recall (e.g. ingredient listing, details of manufacturer/importer). Food products for sale in Singapore can be voluntarily labelled as “GM” or “non-GM”, as long as it is factual and is not misleading.
SFA and GMAC will continue to keep abreast of global discussions on GM food. More information on GM food can be found at http://gmac.gov.sg.