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Identification and quantitation of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in maize, rice, soybean and wheat-containing retail foods and feeds in Turkey


The cultivation area and diversity of genetically modified (GM) crop varieties worldwide is increasing rapidly. Taking Turkey as an example of a country with tight restrictions on the import and use of GM crops but limited resources for product monitoring, we developed a cost-effective 3-tier screening protocol, and tested 110 retail food products and 13 animal feeds available in 2016–2017 for GM ingredients. No evidence was found for the presence of GM wheat or rice in the foodstuffs tested; however, 6 feeds and 3 food products containing soybean and/or maize were positive for one or more GM elements. GM events present in positive samples were identified by event-specific PCR and quantified by real-time PCR. We also compared the results with previous surveys in Turkey. Overall, we observed consistent use of GM animal feeds; however, these were not labelled as GM at the point of sale. Occasional food products also tested positive for GM ingredients, usually at low concentrations that could be attributed to accidental contamination.

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Cetyltrimethylammonium bromide




Genetically modified organism


Quantitative polymerase chain reaction


Roundup ready soybean


Starch synthase II


Sucrose phosphate synthase




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This research was financially supported by an internal grant from Uludağ University Scientific Research Projects Unit (Grant Number 2014/1) and by Nilay Agricultural Products Ltd.

Author information

BA conducted experiments, analyzed data and drafted the manuscript. SS collected samples and conducted experiments. AT conceived the study, collected samples and assisted with data analysis. SJL planned the experimental work, analyzed data and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Stuart J. Lucas.

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Avsar, B., Sadeghi, S., Turkec, A. et al. Identification and quantitation of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in maize, rice, soybean and wheat-containing retail foods and feeds in Turkey. J Food Sci Technol 57, 787–793 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-019-04080-2

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  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Food
  • Feed
  • Food safety
  • Real-time PCR
  • GMO screening