After years of questions and concerns, there is now a National Standard for the disclosure of genetically modified foods. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, authorized by congress in 2016, became mandatory at the start of 2022.
The new National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard represents a change in approach to labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs), now called bioengineered ingredients or BE. Seward Co-op and grocery retailers around the country are required to label anything we sell that is not exempt from the disclosure standard. You may see logos, like the ones to the left, on products, or in other grocery stores. We believe these logos present an unrealistic depiction of the impact of genetically modified food crops, so Seward Co-op has chosen to label our items with the phrase “contains a bioengineered food ingredient.”
When you see “bioengineered food” or “contains bioengineered food ingredient” statements or images on a label, it means that one or more of the ingredients in that product contains detectable modified genetic material. The emphasis in labeling BE foods and ingredients had been on whether the product was grown from genetically engineered seeds. The focus now is whether there is detectable modified genetic material in the final product. This shift is a major change from the labeling advocacy of five years ago and it impacts which products require a label.
By choosing certified organic products whenever possible, we can continue to have a high level of certainty that the food we eat is from seeds that have not been genetically engineered or contain modified genetic material in the final product.