The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a rule for nationwide labeling on genetically engineered foods — but we need something better.
Public comments, from food eaters like you, will be extremely important. Comments were due to the USDA by July 3, 2018.
We've been telling the USDA to:
- Use common, well-established labeling terms. The USDA proposes using a new term — “bioengineering” — not the terms "genetic engineering" or "GMO," despite their acceptance for over 30 years by consumers, companies and regulators.
- Require neutral symbols. The symbols proposed by the USDA appear to be biased toward genetic engineering, or “bioengineering."
Symbols should be content-neutral and easy to understand, like a circle with “GE” or “GMO” inside it.
- Reject QR codes and other discriminatory options for on-package labels. These methods are discriminatory against 100 million consumers who do not have smartphones or reliable internet connections. Other label claims are required to be printed on packages.
- Include all processed foods produced with genetic engineering. Many foods are so highly refined that some tests may not detect GE material in the final product, even though they undisputedly were produced with GE.
- Ensure future foods made with newer forms of genetic engineering are covered. The USDA must ensure any foods made with new forms of genetic engineering — such as synthetic biology, gene-editing and RNAI — are required to be labeled.
- Harmonize with the European Union standard. Required labeling of foods with a 0.9 percent threshold of GE content aligns with accepted global standards, has been adopted by many U.S. companies, and would encourage, not hinder, global trade.
- Demand disclosure now, not postponed until 2022. Waiting four more years would be an unreasonable delay. Many companies already are labeling without disruption or burdensome costs.
How to comment:
Formal comments were due July 3 on the Regulations.gov website.
Thank you for standing up for fair and transparent labeling!