What is negative labeling

Labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO)

Which GMOs have to be labeled?

All foods that are, contain or are obtained from GMOs are subject to GMO labeling. Accordingly, products such as soya oil or the emulsifier soya lecithin must be labeled if they come from genetically modified soya beans (see “Further information”).

However, there are exceptions to the labeling requirement:

• Unintentional traces of approved GMO products do not have to be labeled if they are present in an amount of no more than 0.9% mass percent. The dealers or producers concerned must be able to prove that they have taken the appropriate measures to avoid such traces.

• Fermenter products that are produced by genetically modified microorganisms in a closed system, then separated from the organism, cleaned and chemically defined.

In addition, the negative label “without GMO” may be used for food of animal origin (see Article 37 of the Ordinance on Foodstuffs and Utility Articles LGV). The prerequisite is that no genetically modified forage plants or products derived from them were used to feed the animals.

In addition, the note “without GMOs” must be supplemented with the note “no genetically modified forage plants or products derived from them were used to feed the animals”. The marking is only complete in this combination. Both information must appear in the same field of vision and be clearly legible.

All foods and additives made from GMOs are subject to labeling. Accordingly, products such as soya oil or the emulsifier soya lecithin must be labeled if they come from genetically modified soya beans (see “Further information”).

However, what is produced with the participation of a GMO does not have to be labeled, i.e. the use of processing aids or agricultural production aids. The milk from cows that have eaten genetically modified maize does not have to be labeled if the milk comes from a non-genetically modified cow.

Examples of the labeling of GMO products

Consumers can recognize GMO products by the identification on the label. A corresponding note can be found in the list of ingredients, possibly also with the description of the product. The following three examples are fictional; There are currently practically no genetically modified foods on the Swiss market.


Example 1 (fictitious):
Polenta corn

Ingredients: corn grits (genetically modified), salt, spices, flavor enhancers.


Example 2 (fictitious):
Chocolate with GMO ingredients

Ingredients: sugar, glucose syrup *, cocoa butter, hardened vegetable oil **, low-fat cocoa, cornflakes *, skimmed milk powder, emulsifier (lecithin, E322) **, flavor.

* made from genetically modified maize
** made from genetically modified soy


Example 3 (fictitious):
Fruit yogurt with GMO ingredients, acidified with GMO cultures

Ingredients: milk, skimmed milk powder, sugar, papaya *, modified corn starch **.

* genetically modified
** made with genetically modified lactobacilli.