How will GMO labeling law affect non-GMO labeling?
Published: December 25, 2017
Category: Organic & Non-GMO Seed, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
The new U.S. GMO labeling law, which is scheduled to take effect in July 2018, could impact which ingredients and foods are labeled as non-GMO.
There are questions about how the new U.S. Department of Agriculture law, known as the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, will address processed ingredients such as sugars and oils.
GMO labeling advocacy group Just Label It wants the final law to apply to such ingredients.
According to Craig Morris, deputy administrator for the U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Marketing Service livestock, poultry and seed program, said that his agency hasn’t yet decided how to handle refined sugars and oils in the law though he said it is one of the “issues we are dealing with.”
One of the challenges with highly processed ingredients is that genetically modified material is hard to detect using existing GMO testing methods.
Because of the challenges, Randal Giroux, vice-president of food safety, quality and regulatory for Minneapolis-based Cargill, said it would be difficult to implement a GMO labeling standard based on ingredient testing.
Another challenge for the labeling law could be processing aids. Kansas-based MGP Ingredients sells Non-GMO Project Verified wheat ingredients. Michael Buttshaw, MGP vice-president of ingredient sales and marketing, wonders if the law will require labeling of products containing GMO-derived processing aids. Such a requirement could affect the non-GMO status of his company’s products, which are used by North American and international customers.
While 90 percent of U.S. soybeans are GMO, there are many suppliers of non-GMO soybeans and soy ingredients. Providing non-GMO soy ingredients is not a problem, according to Paul Lang, general manager of Natural Products, Inc., a Grinnell, Iowa supplier of such ingredients.
Lang and other non-GMO ingredient suppliers say they would like to see the U.S. GMO labeling law also cover labeling of foods and ingredients as non-GMO.
Lang says the situation with non-GMO verification is similar to that of organic certification before the establishment of the National Organic Program with many different certifiers. A national non-GMO labeling standard, he says, would be a “win-win for everyone.”
Kate Huston, director of government relations and policy for Cargill, also would like to see the U.S. government regulate non-GMO labeling.
“Because there is no government standard for non-GMO ingredients and products, ingredient suppliers and food companies selling non-GMO products are basing claims on a variety of standards, including both third-party and individually developed standards,” she said. “We believe industry and consumers would benefit from a clear, consistent standard.”
Source: Food Business News