Even major food companies hate the new US rules for GMO food labeling
Published: January 29, 2019
Category: The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s GMO labeling guidelines are so “toothless” (according to Quartz) that even food giants like Nestlé, Mars, and Unilever are surprised.
The standards fall short of consumer expectations and the practices leading food companies are already using to disclose GMO presence, noted the corporations’ trade group, the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance. For example, refined sugars, oils, and starches derived from GM crops—including soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup—are exempt from labeling. About one-sixth of foods derived from GMOs won’t be labeled at all, reported the Environmental Working Group.
The term “genetically modified” has been replaced with “bioengineered,” a term the public doesn’t recognize. Manufacturers have four ways to disclose GM information: 1) through text on the product’s nutrition information panel; 2) using the new “bioengineered food” symbol; 3) using a QR code accessed via a smartphone (if shoppers have one!); and 4) including a text message disclosure route. Bottom line: Two GMO soybean oil bottles could have entirely different labels, adding to confusion and obfuscation.
“Much education of consumers will be needed” before consumers will understand the disclosure, said the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
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