EU regulations control GMO use in food products and animal feed. According to said regulations, Valio does not use ingredients that include or consist of GMO parts* in its food products that are made in Finland.
Valio's primary ingredient, Finnish milk, is produced at dairy farms, who are not allowed to use genetically modified feed plants. Every Valio dairy farm follows our quality handbook, which details good feeding practices for their animals. These practices are what forbid the use of GMO feed for dairy cattle.
Milk does not, according to current information, contain GMO even if the cows are given genetically modified feed. Valio wants, however, to give consumers a milk choice that has been produced without using any gene-modified feed plants.
Feeding for Valio cows is based on Finnish grass feed, either straight from the pasture or as silage. Grass feed is supplemented with cereal grains as well as rapeseed or canola groats, none of which are genetically modified. Cows at Valio farms do not eat any soy.
Elsewhere in Europe, dairy cattle is generally fed maize silage that is supplemented with soy groats, which makes it considerably more difficult to keep the feed chain GMO-free. This is due to the fact that a significant share of soy consists of genetically modified versions.
Valio monitors its dairy farms. More than a hundred farms are audited every year. One of the points of audit is how well feeding instructions are followed. It's possible to trace the feed based on purchase receipts and insurance certificates.
Valio also monitors its ingredient suppliers, such as jelly manufacturers and animal feed sales companies through written surveys.
Valio dairy farms are required to purchase all the feed they buy from suppliers on Animal Health ETT’s Positive List. Valio provides a list of genetically modified ingredients regularly to the companies on the list. All companies on the list are committed to not using genetically modified plants in dairy cattle feed.
Genetically modified organisms or food products may not be introduced to the market without permission in the EU.
GMO refers to genetically modified organisms, such as a plant or bacterium that has had its modified through gene technology. Genetically modified food products are made from genetically modified ingredients or otherwise contain them.
Genetically modified organisms or food products may not be introduced to the market without permission in the EU. All genetically modified ingredients go through a strict approval process in the EU, wherein safety is one of the key issues.
Several genetically modified food products and feeds have been approved for the EU market since 1996, such as maize, soy, canola and sugar beet. In Finland, the Finnish Food Authority maintains the list of genetically modified feeds and food products.
Genetically modified food products are indistinguishable based on looks alone, but the genetically modified ingredients in food products and animal feed are shown in the package labels. The list of ingredients will be marked with “genetically modified” or “made of genetically modified soy” after a GMO ingredient.
This labelling requirement does not apply to fermented products that are made with genetically modified microbes, where the genetically modified microbes are not present in the end product. This label is also not required when genetically modified animal feed has been given to animals.
*ref Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 and No 1830/2003