Demand Food Companies Provide Real GMO Transparency
To the White House, USDA, and US food companies
We thoroughly reject the USDA’s fake GMO labeling policy as a blatant attempt to help food companies hide the GMO content from concerned consumers.
We demand that the government craft a new policy that provides real transparency.
We also demand that food companies voluntarily provide that transparency, and most certainly not use the fake labeling policy to hide GMO content or make it difficult to verify.
The USDA policy is a travesty.
Most GMO products would not be labeled
Oil made from 100% GMO soy or corn, for example, sugar from 100% GMO sugar beets, and corn syrup from 100% GMO corn would all go unlabeled! Unlike the European labeling standard, the USDA requires that GMO tests can detect GMOs in the final product. This excludes the vast majority of refined derivatives of GMO foods. Consumers have consistently rejected such a loophole.
The rule excludes GMOs made from new methods such as gene editing. This is completely unacceptable.
Milk, meat, and eggs from animals fed GMOs would not be labeled.
High levels of GMO contamination would not be labeled
The USDA allows 5% GMO contamination to go unlabeled—more than 5 times higher than the European standard.
The rule purposely uses a new obscure word to confuse.
While 97% of consumers are aware of GMOs, the USDA substituted the term bioengineered, which is not well known and easily confused.
Symbol promotes GMOs!
Companies can use a symbol to confirm GMO content, but it’s designed to appeal or endorse, rather than be neutral.
Companies can make it even harder for consumers to know
Companies who really want to hide their GMO content can use a QR code, which requires a smart phone and internet access. Tens of millions of Americans won’t have access, and most that do never use QR codes. They can also use phone numbers, text numbers, and websites. All these are designed to make it difficult and time consuming for people to know if the food has GMOs.
This whole fake labeling scheme is not required until 2022.
Ironically, food companies that may have supported this rule will face backlash.
Consumers trying to avoid GMOs will assume that if the package has a QR code, toll free number, text, or website, they will assume the company is trying to hide the fact that it contains GMOs and will reject the brand.
Since the USDA’s definition of bioengineered is full of loopholes, consumers will start to challenge companies’ claims that their products are non-GMO. Consumers may think that the company is pretending it’s non-GMO, just because it doesn’t need a “bioengineered” lablel. To convince skeptical consumers, companies will need to abandon self-certified non-GMO claims and substitute trusted third-party verified labels.
The USDA has made a mockery of themselves and has created a situation where both consumers and companies will lose.