GMO labeling coming soon to a shelf near you

June 20, 2018

GMO labeling coming soon to a shelf near you You may recall, last year a national Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) labeling law was passed to have one uniform standard for labeling GMOs, also referred to as BE (bioengineered). Many farmers, parents and experts have shared their thoughts on GMOs and making the best choice for their family. Read their perspectives here.

The National Bioengineer Food Disclosure Standard was passed on July 29, 2016, and requires the USDA to establish a labeling standard for GM food. These requirements must be set by July 29, 2018, and we will begin seeing these new labels on food next year.

What does this mean for you?

Soon, you’ll start to see GMO/BE foods labeled in a variety of ways. Many companies have already started labeling their products and support this national labeling standard. These labels won’t change the fact that GMO foods are neither more nor less safe than non-GMO alternatives. The proposed rule states, “bioengineered food … shall not be treated as safer than, or not as safe as, a non-bioengineered counterpart.”

Once put into law, you will see three different labeling methods:

  1. Text on food packaging (example: Partially produced with genetic engineering)
  2. A symbol that represents genetic or bio engineering
  3. An electronic or digital link that can be scanned

Smaller food manufacturers with limited resources may also choose to label their GM foods using a telephone number that can provide additional information or an internet URL.

The law requires that only bioengineered foods intended for human consumption be labeled. Instances where GMOs do not have to be labeled include:

  • Foods derived from animals, such as eggs, meat and milk
  • Food served in a restaurant or other food-service establishment
  • Foods manufactured and sold by very small manufacturers (local shops, etc.)
  • Any non-food products

The proposed GMO labeling law is in a comment period until July 3, 2018. This is a time when anyone can submit a comment for consideration about the law. It’s an essential part of the regulatory process. You can read the entire proposal and submit comments to the USDA here.

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