64 countries around the world label GE food

Originally published in Sound Consumer | May 2013

by Hudson B. Kingston

Since the commercialization of the first genetically engineered (GE) crops in the 1990s, countries have been trying to create policies that sufficiently regulate and oversee these new technologies.

In the early 2000s the Center for Food Safety and the International Forum on Globalization teamed up to create a GE policy map to show the patchwork of import bans, planting bans, international treaty ratifications, controlled releases, and mandatory labeling laws pertaining to GE foods.


The original design and data for this map comes from “Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Laws” map by Center for Food Safety, available at centerforfoodsafety.org/ge-map/, published September 2012.

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belarus
  4. Belgium
  5. Bolivia
  6. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  7. Brazil
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Cameroon
  10. China
  11. Croatia
  12. Cyprus
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Denmark
  15. Ecuador
  16. El Salvador
  17. Estonia
  18. Ethiopia
  19. Finland
  20. France
  21. Germany
  22. Greece
  23. Hungary
  24. Iceland
  25. India
  26. Indonesia
  27. Ireland
  28. Italy
  29. Japan
  30. Jordan
  31. Kazakhstan
  32. Kenya
  33. Latvia
  34. Lithuania
  35. Luxembourg
  36. Malaysia
  37. Mali
  38. Malta
  39. Mauritius
  40. Netherlands
  41. New Zealand
  42. Norway
  43. Peru
  44. Poland
  45. Portugal
  46. Romania
  47. Russia
  48. Saudi Arabia
  49. Senegal
  50. Slovakia
  51. Slovenia
  52. South Africa
  53. South Korea
  54. Spain
  55. Sri Lanka
  56. Sweden
  57. Switzerland
  58. Taiwan
  59. Thailand
  60. Tunisia
  61. Turkey
  62. Ukraine
  63. United Kingdom
  64. Vietnam

Countries increasingly have teamed together to adopt GE labeling laws across borders to improve access to foreign markets. Between the last version of the map in 2005 and today, 24 additional countries have passed mandatory labeling laws, and many more countries have worked to formalize and strengthen their regulatory regimes.

India was the most recent country to adopt a mandatory labeling law at the beginning of 2013. Some countries have no need for a labeling law because they do not allow any GE food, such as Zambia, Benin and Serbia, which all have total bans on GE imports and cultivation. Turkey is now debating becoming the first country to label GE animal products — meat, milk, eggs, cheese and other products — from animals raised on GE feed.

The recently published Center for Food Safety Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Laws map concentrates on mandatory labeling laws across the world, just one of the ways countries regulate GE. The map shows that the 64 countries with labeling requirements span both the developed and developing world.

Our greatest trading partners are countries that require labeling of GE foods, and U.S. food exports abide by their laws.

One trend that is evident from the map over time is that more and more countries have sought to provide their citizens with increased information about GE foods, and once countries have labeling laws in place they do not weaken these standards.

GE food labeling has proved to be a policy that works across countless cultures, benefiting billions of people.

Hudson B. Kingston is Legal Fellow at the Center for Food Safety.

  • Per

    May 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    US politicians are just puppets hired by big business. How could anything change here?

  • Barbara Robbins

    May 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Are there ANY good results that show benefits from genetic engineering for anything? I mean a lot of research has been done, but we are focusing on these bad results. Surely SOME benefits have shown up somewhere?

  • Danica

    May 14, 2013 at 2:45 am

    True testimony: I have a strong gluten intolerance that causes a reaction in 4-6 hours after gluten consumption and symptoms that can last for hours or days (depending on how much I consume). In October 2012 I went to Serbia, one of the few countries that has a total ban on GMOs. After 2 weeks eating gluten free I decided to test a theory I had read onlinen about non-GMO wheat having less gluten and not being problematic for some with gluten intolerance. Guess who ate bread, crepes & pastries the last week in Serbia with NO problem…ME! I even brought back some Serbian “kore” (like a phyllo dough), that I used upon my return to the US. Again, the Serbian food didn’t make me sick. However I got sick when I ate US-produced gluten after I returned (I had to test it out). Anyhow, I’m just one person, but my experience and that of others with gluten issues who have had similar experiences has convinced me that GMO foods are unnatural and have effects we still don’t understand. I’m all for GMO labeling in the US (and praying for an all-out ban some day, though I doubt that will happen in my lifetime)

    • Elizabeth O'Connell

      May 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Thanks for sharing Danica!
      Right now in the US there is no GMO wheat being grown (except for test plots), so the wheat ingredients in US products will not be genetically modified. However, this does not mean that a product will be free of other GMOs, such as corn, sugar or soy. You also may be having a difficult time with the modern hybridized wheat in the US which has much higher gluten levels versus ancient wheat types which you may have been consuming in Serbia.
      You are not alone in your struggles and the ever-growing group of people in the US with gluten intolerance issues will appreciate your experience. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Name (required)

    May 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    i have had to change my diet to totally organic because I too am reacting to gluten. There are lists of Non GMO foods. That’s the best we have right now.

  • Ruth McVeigh

    May 20, 2013 at 8:19 am

    By refusing to label food that is hazardous for our health, it is obvious our government doesn’t really give a toot whether we live or die. Which is pretty short-sighted .. typical. No citizens = no votes.

  • Pat Kennedy

    May 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    By simply looking at the map, it appears that the only ones that do not label, are many African Countries, and a few in South America…and US, United States. Even China labels…What is wrong with this picture?

  • Amos Chileshe Muselema

    June 1, 2013 at 1:11 am

    If countries where GE is allowed leave these products without labelling them, that to me is a suicidal attitude. It is quite fatal. It is no different from chemical weapons. GE has a lot of implications which people worldover are condemning.

    Let the world wake up and support methods that are not questionable. I strongly support methods like organic farming.

  • Rolf Shenton

    November 30, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Yes, Zambia is officially GMO free for now and enjoying a very nice export niche but the big boys are here- Monsanto building market and Syngenta buying MRI, a local company that holds the biggest stock of adapted breeding material. Yields especially in small-scale have been declining steadily for decades, Grassroots believe due to poor ag practice burning residues, ploughing and over-use of chemicals and nitrogen which in our wet-dry environment combine to de-carbonise the soils and starve off biological activity leaving soils dry and infertile. We have proved that high yields (600% up on national average) can be achieved by simply stopping these destructive processes and rather feeding the biological process. Reducing inputs also increases profits (2000% up on national average) and resilience to erratic weather.
    Will the new mega-corporates help us breed locally adapted seed that scavenges natural nutrient better or bully us into accepting a “snake-oil” solution dependent on chemicals that accelerates desertification? We’ll stay vigilant!