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April 7, 2006

WORLD: ISO issues GM definition standards

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

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.

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