Confusing New GMO Labels Help Big Ag, Not Consumers

If there was ever a way to assist Big Ag in selling GMO food products, this is it…


 

USDA Unveils Prototypes For GMO Food Labels, And They’re … Confusing

 

Foods that contains genetically modified ingredients will soon have a special label.

We recently got the first glimpse of what that label might look like, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its proposed guidelines.

This is the product of a decades-long fight between anti-GMO campaigners and Big Agriculture companies, which left neither side completely satisfied…

After Congress passed a bill in 2016 requiring labels on foods containing GMO ingredients, the USDA launched a long process to figure out the specifics.

The result?

Confusion for Consumers

“…they look like a little smiley face. They’re very pro-biotech, cartoonishly so, and to that extent are, you know, not just imparting information but instead are essentially propaganda for the industry.”

-George Kimbrell, legal director for the Center for Food Safety

The letters B-E stand for bioengineered — a term critics say is unfamiliar to the U.S. consumer, compared to more commonly used phrases like genetically engineered or GMO.

“It’s misleading and confusing to consumers to now switch that up and use a totally different term, bioengineered, that has not been the standard commonplace nomenclature for all of this time.”

-George Kimbrell, legal director for the Center for Food Safety

Big Ag Loves the New Labels

…industry representatives such as Nathan Fields, the director of biotechnology and crop inputs at the National Corn Growers Association, say the new “Bioengineered” term provides a clean slate.

The National Corn Growers Association was supportive when Congress passed the mandatory disclosure standards, in part because states such as Vermont were creating their own rules about labeling genetically engineered foods…

More than 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered.  Soy, like corn, is also more than 90 percent genetically engineered.  That means that the majority of processed foods containing ingredients such as soy, canola oil or corn starch, also contain modified genetic material.

More Obstacles for Consumers to Know What is In Their Food

Polls show that a majority of Americans want to know whether their food is genetically engineered.

…but it is not certain that the USDA will require the label to actually say “bioengineered”…companies could simply use a QR code, a kind of barcode that a phone can scan, to disclose info about the product. Industry professionals say they are clear and easy to use.

But critics say scanning a code would be one more obstacle for people who want to know how their food is made.

“People who aren’t in a place where there’s good wi-fi won’t know if it’s a GMO, and people who don’t use smartphones won’t know if it’s a GMO and also people who are in a hurry won’t know if it’s a GMO.”

-Dr. Glenn Stone, a Washington University in St. Louis anthropology professor who focuses on genetically modified crops


 

Also see:

The ‘Non-GMO’ Label Controversy…Non-GMO Food vs. Organic Food

non-gmo labell project vs organic

Organic Food Fights Back Against ‘Non-GMO’ Rival