The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) along with several major food companies have called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to require labeling of foods and beverages containing refined ingredients derived from genetically modified crops as part of the USDA’s proposed GMO labeling law.
“Our member companies have an unwavering commitment to meeting consumer demands for more information about the food and beverage products they purchase and consume,” said Dr. Leon Bruner, GMA’s chief science officer. “Consumers expect to know if a product contains an ingredient that was sourced from a bioengineered crop, so it is essential that disclosure of this information be required under a final rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.”
GMA’s position on GMO labeling has completely changed; the group strongly opposed any labeling just a few years ago.
Leading food companies such as Nestle, Hershey Co. and Unilever agree with GMA and also want the USDA to label ingredients from GM crops such as canola and soybean oils and sugar from beets.
But farm groups such as the American Sugar Beets Association oppose such labeling, saying that genetically modified DNA is no longer found in highly processed materials.
“The law has been very clear that the required disclosure is going to be for those crops or ingredients that contain the genetic material,” said the association’s executive vice president Luther Markwart.
But in its comments to USDA, GMA countered by stating: “Consumer interest in bioengineered foods is based on a desire to understand how a crop is grown, not whether the ingredient contains detectable rDNA.”
GMA also calls for a GMO labeling threshold of 0.9 percent, which is similar to the European Union’s standard.
The USDA released its proposed “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard” in May and took public comments on the draft until July 3.
Sources: Reuters, Grocery Manufacturers Association, FoodNavigator USA
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