IOFGA (Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association) has endorsed the ministerial commitment to introducing a GM free label for Irish products. The majority of meat and dairy products produced in Ireland are exported primarily to Europe. Germany has introduced a GM free label which has been very successful and it is being closely followed by the introduction of GM Free labels in other EU states.
According to IOFGA, the reason that such a label needs to be introduced urgently in Ireland is that consumers all over Europe are demanding food which is guaranteed to be GM Free. A recent study in the UK found that 92% of consumers wanted labels to identify GM free food, 75% of which said that they would pay more for food which is labelled GM free.
“It is within this context that Ireland needs to ensure that it remains competitive and not only maintains but expands its markets abroad,” says Grace Maher, development officer with IOFGA. “Consumers are confused regarding GM food and labelling which makes the introduction of a GM free label essential so that consumers can be sure that they are making an informed choice when it comes to purchasing food. In organic farming GM ingredients are strictly prohibited however the introduction of a GM free label is welcome to highlight this to consumers who may not be aware of that fact. A GM free label is also important for conventional farmers who are not using GM ingredients in order to ensure that they continue to have a market for their product both in Ireland and abroad.”
The Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA) is the largest organic certification organisation in Ireland representing approx 1,300 farmers, growers and processors. It is responsible for certifying the organic provenance of its members produce and the IOFGA symbol indicates that a product has met the highest standard of organic integrity. IOFGA also works to inform the public about the benefits of organic food and to support the development of organic food production in Ireland.