Just in time for the holidays, the USDA has released their final regulations for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
This new GMO labeling law is a total sham and allows a number of genetically engineered products to go undisclosed, all while creating unnecessary confusion for customers.
We are deeply disappointed to see that these labeling regulations pander to the Biotech and Pesticide industries’ obvious attempts to mislead consumers instead of protecting our right to know what is in our food.
This new GMO labeling law is extremely problematic in a number of ways:
Foods produced using new genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR and RNAi are exempt from having to make a GMO disclosure.
Because animal feed is not covered by this law, meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals fed a GMO diet will not require disclosure.
The rule includes a 5% threshold for the unintended presence of genetically engineered ingredients. This threshold is much higher than the thresholds commonly allowed for minor pollen drift.
Highly refined ingredients like sugar and oils with hard to detect GMO content will be exempt even though they are produced from GMOs.
The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard also fails to provide an easy to understand and accessible standard for GMO labeling:
The new regulation prohibits the use of clear and publicly recognized terms like genetically engineered, genetically modified or GMO. Instead, it only allows for the term “Bioengineered” or worse yet “BE”, which is unfamiliar and confusing for customers.
Far from neutral, the GMO symbol provided by the USDA includes a cheerful, four-pointed starburst, an obvious attempt to position “bioengineered” foods as safe and healthy.
Instead of requiring products to make clear, on-pack GMO disclosures in the form of plain text or a symbol, the new rule allows for the option of digital/electronic disclosures, such as scannable QR codes. These discriminate against the millions of Americans who do not have access to smartphones or a reliable internet connection.
Avoid GMOs By Eating Certified Organic Or Non-GMO Verified
The Labeling law goes into full effect in January of 2022. Because this new GMO labeling law fails to provide any meaningful regulation or transparency, we recommend purchasing certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified foods.