On June 25, 2008 a French law was passed which allows the production of food with or without the use of GMOs. It provides regulatory provisions that must be followed by farmers wishing to cultivate GMOs, in order that their neighbors remain free to make their own choices.

This French law also requires the compulsory labeling of GMO’s products (if GMO residue is more than 0.9%).

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

On July 1st, a decree was published to describe the guidelines of the implementation of this law in the country. This decree introduces a label “without GMO “ with more precise labeling criteria than in the law. These criteria were recommended by the economic, ethic and social committee of the [HCB->3483] (high council of biotechnologies) in 2009, an organization charged with advising government decisions.

As a consequence, this new label includes 4 different levels:

  • Without GMO”: for vegetables in France, which contain less than 0.1% of GMO’s.
  • Fed without GMO’s”: for animal products.  Two levels of labeling exist: one for products for which livestock has been fed with products that contain less than 0.1%, and another for animals products for livestock fed with food that contain less than 0.9%.
  • No GMO’s within a 3km radius”: For Honey and other beekeeping products, they could get the label only if the hives are far from GMO’s crop from 3km or more.Creation and organization of new sectors :This regulation is the first step toward the creation and organization of a new sector with food produced through a whole food production chain without GMO’s.There are two types of possible new sectors:
  • One with the whole food chain without GMO’s: This sector without GMO implies new costs but with an insignificant price increase. In respect to the requirement of this label, industries have to develop traceability, control and certification. For each of these 3 steps of labeling, cost accounts for 6.5 to 14% of the value of the product. But, this raise of costs may not affect consumers because the increase will be shared by each stage of the food production chain. Indeed, some French retailers have already implemented this type of non-GMOs sector and have created their own label.


  • One which has both GMO and non-GMO products: The costs of separating of GMO and non-GMO products, as well as guaranteeing the requirement level of GMO are important. Until now this sector has not been developed because of the risk of important cost. But some improvement will probably come within the next few years.So this creation of the labeling is a first step toward the organization and creation of a new field. From now on, each level of the sector, from field to plate has to organize and to be integrated in the whole food chain of production.