USDA approves voluntary GMO-free label
June 25th, 2013
12:00 PM ET
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The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that would inform consumers about whether the product contains genetically modified ingredients. The approval marks the first time the department has approved a non-GMO label from a third party.

The verification seal comes from the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organization “committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers and providing verified non-GMO choices.” The seal allows consumers to know if the animal product they’re about to consume was fed genetically engineered crops like soy, corn and alfalfa. (The FDA has not approved any genetically modified animals for the food supply, but some animals do eat GMO feed.)

Genetically modified foods were approved for human consumption in the United States in 1995, but the FDA never required them to be labeled as such.

The FDA responded to the Non-GMO Project's labeling efforts in April: “The FDA supports voluntary labeling for food derived from genetic engineering. Currently, food manufacturers may indicate through voluntary labeling whether foods have or have not been developed through genetic engineering provided that such labeling is truthful and not misleading.”

The USDA adopted the Non-GMO Project’s requirements, auditing process and standard. The USDA also must approve all labels before the product is delivered.

According to the Non-GMO Project website, label verification is also offered to entire restaurants and delis for select dishes and individual ingredients.

Chipotle Mexican Grill became the first fast food chain to voluntarily label menu items that contain GMOs; Whole Foods and Ben & Jerry’s have since followed suit.

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Filed under: Food Politics • GMO • Labels • News

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Brian

    You can't trust Monsanto. They said RoundUp was biodegradable until they were forced to remove it from the label. The chemical company has been lying since day 1. Agent Orange, DDT, Bovine Growth Hormone, Aspartame, Glyphophate, the list goes on.

    Please help stop the revolving door in DC that is preventing fairness in this issue:

    We need 150 signatures ASAP to make it public and 100,000 by January 27, 2014.

    We're in this together!

    Thank you.

    December 28, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  2. Shay

    I don't blame the tool for the damage that its wielder causes. I blame the pesticide companies that are trying to poison my food, my well water, and endanger the viability of my entire food system with their products. I blame the EPA for using short-sighted, short-term "risk-benefit" assessments to permit said pesticide companies (of which Monsanto is merely one) to continue their irresponsible roulette with my life and health. GMO is just a tool, but there's a reason that gene-geered pesticide-resistant crops and the use of systemic poisons increased together through the 90s to today. Without the GM crops, the neonicotinoid pesticides – whose use has so far been shown to have a high correlation with the death rate of our pollinators in excess of 25% above hatch rates nationwide in 2011 – those pesticides would not be used on our crops because even with expedited selective breeding the non-GMO plants we eat would not be viable food after the application of those pesticides. And it should be noted that YOU CANNOT WASH OFF A SYSTEMIC POISON, whether the plant containing it was gene-geered to resist damage from the pesticide or gene-geered to produce it itself. Furthermore, there hasn't been TIME to really see what the long term health effects of the doses of these pesticides IN OUR FOOD have on HUMAN HEALTH. We KNOW that the foliate pesticides replaced by these systemic poisons caused leukemia and tumors. We know – the EPA cited it – that these systemic poisons interfere in the neural development of rats – lab animals that have so far shown to be the greatest predictor of human health effects. So, no, genetic engineering in an of itself isn't "the problem"; it's just a tool. That doesn't mean that the way it's used today isn't a sign of irresponsible, unsustainable and down right dangerous agribusiness practices.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  3. jeffreydachmd

    Jeff Smith’s book, Seeds of Deception, compiles 20 years of data on the health risks of genetically modified foods. This data includes studies in which GMO food is fed to laboratory animals resulting in thousands of sick, sterile and dead laboratory animals. This data also includes human allergic reactions and toxicity from GMO foods. While American consumers remain oblivious,genetic modification has already spread to more than 70% of the supermarket food supply, mostly affecting corn, soy, cotton seed oil and canola oil. In spite of these obvious problems, the FDA does not require labeling or safety testing of genetically modified food.

    For More:

    jeffrey dach md

    July 16, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  4. Rob

    Nice, considering the American public has consumed GMOs for over a decade while experiencing a steady increase in life expectancy and a drop in caner rates, I say we go after GMOs foods with all the zeal that a made up phobia deserves. Let's stigmatize a food source!

    June 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Rob

      *cancer rates

      June 25, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
      • K

        Actually Monsanto creator of Agent Orange said the Agent Orange was safe. Do you realize that so many men fighting for this country in the Vietnam war was exposed to Agent Orange? Do you know that both my uncles have died years later from it? Do you know that I found many other people who has had a family member die from it. Monsanto is playing God. Their seeds are so cancerous that Haiti burned our seeds. Japan blocked an improt, and almost every country bans GMO/s . Even the taste is different. They teamed up with the pharma companies so that when you get cancer around age 786 which you wil not be approved for cancer treatment, you will either have to pay out of pocket or die. It will cause birth defects and will make it harder for woman to conceive. Watch the movie idocracy- sadly that is what our Country and world is coming to

        June 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
        • Animalsci89

          You are talking about two totally different things here. One is a substitution of a gene that cause corn to produce two ears, and be resistent to pesticide and the other was actually the chemical. One is a much more natural occurance than the other. If you treated an entire field of corn with roundup and you didn't kill all the corn then the stalks that didn't die should carry the same gene that causes the resistance. They taste no different either, but go right ahead and think that.

          June 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • Ryan Goodman

          Did you know Monsanto isn't the only company employing biotechnology in plant science? Take a little time to remove your hate for that company from the conversation and maybe we can have a better understanding of what biotechnology actually contributes to the food supply.

          June 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Animalsci89

          How are you Ryan? People don't want to hear anything like that or look into educating themselves about topics like this. They want to believe the media. Now I also blame the industry for not educating nearly enough until its too late and they have to do damage control. From what I have seen if anything has an abreviation on it they see it as unnatural and they don't want it. Does it make sense? No, but thats just the world we live in now.

          June 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • foxtrottcharly

      GMO's are a threat for the health, tests have proven that. Plus they are a threat for the ecological system, and our huge and rich variety of fruits, vegetables, crops etc. We in Europe just can't allow it. It is also a threat for our small-farming based agriculture, our kitchen, our traditions, our culture. Ever heard of the SlowFood-Movement?? We must stop companies like Monsanto, Syngenta etc. and nations providing them. NO GMO's!! It would even be worth a war!!

      July 11, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  5. Ryan Goodman

    Very glad to see companies and businesses stepping up with voluntary labeling. We don't have to force it one everyone with laws to get something accomplished.

    June 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
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