The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has released guidelines advising on how best to check whether foodstuffs contain genetically modified material.

"Knowing if a product contains material derived from GM organisms and if so in what quantities is a concern for many consumers, businesses and legislators," an ISO note said. To this end, the agency hopes to establish a comprehensive international definition of what constitutes a GM product or ingredient. 

Its new standard ISO 24276 lists steps in sample analysis, including: extracting nucleic acids or proteins; further purification; quantification; possible dilution; and checks using 'polymerase chain reaction' tests or other procedures. It also advises on setting up laboratories, covering bureaucratic requirements; design; personnel regulations; equipment maintenance; and handling analysed materials or reagents.