USDA Organic Labels Inspire Bill For Advertising Foods as "GMO-Free"
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new bill has been proposed by the Republican House to enable those that wish to advertise that their products do not contain any genetic modifications would be able to do so with a “GMO-free” label.
Inspired by the “USDA organic” label, this would mean that you don’t have to label foods with GM organisms, an on-going debate within legislation. This would, instead, be seen as a promotional opportunity for those with conventional products, according to a Great Falls Tribune report, and would be completely voluntary.
"We think this provision not only creates a single national standard, but also creates that accountability and transparency so consumers know what they have in front of them," Kansas Congressman and introducer of the bill Mike Pompeo, told reporters, according to the Great Falls Tribune. "Here, I think, we got a bill that is going to be broadly bipartisan and reflects science and facts."
According Pompeo, this legislation would help provide consistency in labeling, offering clarity to the consumer. Under the proposed legislation, the Agriculture Department would oversee the certification the same way it currently does with organic products. The difference is the USDA’s non-GMO certification would not be required for every food that labels itself as free of genetically modified ingredients as it does with organic foods.
The bill also calls for an increase in FDA review of genetically modified foods. As of right now, food companies must comply with the FDA to claim that foods are free of modifications. According to Mass Live, the goal is that foods the FDA certifies as “GMO-free” would have a special government label paid for by user fees.his would present an opportunity to not influence consumers that purchase foods
This would present an opportunity to avoid influencing consumers that purchase foods approved by the USDA and FDA. While some companies worry that if they are mandated to identify GMO foods in stores, others see this new proposal as a way to circumvent transparency instead of promoting it.
"The most effective way to provide consumers with the full universe of information about their food is through mandatory labeling, nothing less," Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety advocacy group said in the Mass Live report.
While opponents of the bill do not feel it meets the requirements of giving consumers all the information they want, Pompeo reportedly remained confident a companion bill would soon be introduced that could make it to the White House this year.
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