G.M.O. Foods Will Soon Require Labels

Amy Harmon reported late last week at The New York Times Online that, “The United States Department of Agriculture has proposed new guidelines for labeling foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Food makers will be required by federal law to use the labels, starting in 2020.

“The safety of genetically modified ingredients, widely known as G.M.O.s, remains a source of anxiety for some Americans despite the scientific studies that say they pose no health threat. Many food makers now voluntarily place ‘No G.M.O.’’ labels on their products as a marketing tactic.

“Clarifying how genes are altered in the plants and animals we eat, and whether grocery store shoppers should care, has proved to be a heavy lift.”

Ms. Harmon noted that, “Instead of the commonly used but somewhat stigmatized terms ‘G.M.O.‘ and ‘genetically engineered,’ the guidelines propose labels that say ‘bioengineered‘ or ‘BE.’ Food makers would be given a choice of three disclosure methods: spelling out the information, as in ‘contains a bioengineered food ingredient;’ using a standard icon (the agency proposed several evoking sun and smiles); or affixing a QR code that directs consumers to a website with more information.”

The Times article also stated that, “The public has until July 3 to comment on the proposed guidelines.”

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