Updated USDA labeling for genetically modified food

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January 4, 2022

The new Food Labeling Rules for Genetically Modified Foods of the U.S. Department of Agriculture entered into force on January 1, 2022.

The big difference for consumers is that they will no longer see the word “GMO,” which means genetically modified organisms.

Instead, they will see a round green label that says “bioengineering” or “derived from bioengineering” or a sticker with a phone number or QR code to provide more information.

A USDA spokesman said the change would bring uniformity to food labeling, which has so far depended on “patched up” state regulations. Washington Post reported.

The rule came into force in 2020, but the deadline for compliance was January 1, 2022.

Some of the old official certificates will remain, such as “USDA Organic” and “Non-GMO Project Verified”. Manufacturers of dietary supplements must follow labeling rules, although restaurants do not, Post He said.

The Food Safety Center and other advocacy groups say labeling doesn’t go far enough and that it’s unfair to people without smartphones who won’t be able to scan QR codes. The USDA will not conduct in-store inspections to ensure compliance, but will instead rely on consumer complaints.

“An already overwhelmed consumer will have to spend four times more time in the supermarket reading labels,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Food Safety Center. Post. “And now they’re going to have to be citizens of American investigators to make sure this law has some consequences.”

Food companies have called on the government to delay implementing the rules.

“We believe the government must now take a‘ do no harm ’position that allows companies to focus on delivering basic products to consumers,” said Betsy Booren of the Consumer Brands Association. Post.

The National Standard for the Discovery of Food Bioengineering defines bioengineered food as “that which contains detectable genetic material that has been modified by certain laboratory techniques and that cannot be created by conventional farming or found in nature,” according to USDA Web page.

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