This paper analyses the factors inducing retailers to adopt genetically modified (GM)-free private standards, using information on 44 retailers operating in 54 countries. Retailers are distinguished between those not using GM ingredients and those using ingredients which are potentially GM in their private label products. Results from a binary response model show that many of the drivers highlighted in the empirical literature, such as historical factors, communication infrastructure and sectorial conditions, affect the likelihood of adopting GM-free private standards. Moreover, we test additional hypotheses from the political economy of standards formation and of mass media. Key results show that a higher share of government-oriented public media reduces the probability of adopting GM-free private standards, while different genetically modified organism public standards between home and operating countries increase this probability.