Tell The USDA To Label All GMO Foods
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its long-awaited proposed regulations for the mandatory labeling of foods produced using genetic engineering (GE).
Unfortunately, some of USDA's proposal promotes the use of digital QR codes that require a smartphone and an internet connection. On-package text or an easily understood symbol should be the only acceptable option for food companies. But, the USDA has proposed using a symbol with initials that will further confuse consumers. IRT proposes that the USDA allow for the use of common, well-established labeling terms, such as GE or GMO. But the USDA proposes to restrict the terms “genetic engineering,” and “GMO,” despite their use for 30-plus years by consumers, companies, and regulators. The term “bioengineered,” and the entirely unfamiliar acronym “BE,” is misleading and confusing. Companies are already out in the marketplace labeling using the well-established terminology “GMO,” or “GE,” and USDA should permit that to continue.
USDA is also undecided as to whether many processed foods made with GE commodity crops, such as corn, soy, canola, and sugar derived from GE beets, should require labels. Any meaningful standard must include these GE products regardless of how highly refined they are.
As if all these issues weren't bad enough, USDA's proposal fails to specify whether food products made with newer forms of genetic engineering will be covered under the law.
And finally, the labeling law requires regulations be finalized by July 29, 2018. However, USDA would allow companies to nonetheless postpone GE labeling until as late as 2022 and instead permit them to use up labels without GE content information. This is an entirely unreasonable delay. Many companies are already labeling.
Americans have waited long enough for labeling. Join us in demanding the USDA hear our concerns with this proposed rule. We have 40 days to make our voices heard.