GMO Food Labels are Coming Soon
American labeling laws will change in 2020, requiring GMO food labels to be applied. However, the way this will change packaging has yet to be seen. The United States Department of Agriculture recently proposed new guidelines for the labeling.
Why GMO Food Labels?
Many Americans remain concerned about the safety of genetically modified organisms (G.M.O.s). There is research to suggest that these foods do not pose a health threat, but many people remain unconvinced. As a result, new GMO food labels will be added to packaging.
At the moment, many manufacturers already add No GMO food labels to their products. They use this as a type of marketing strategy to appeal to people who are avoiding genetically modified ingredients.
That said, the law seeks to create a standard for the way the GMO food labels can be used. Still, the specifics of the labeling guidelines have become an issue of considerable debate.
How Common Are GMO Foods?
The number of genetically modified organisms is actually quite small. There are a few plants that have been modified in order to resist pests, grow more efficiently or require fewer resources to reach the point that they can be harvested.
That said, those few species include plants such as soybeans, corn and sugar beets. Those plants tend to be ingredients involved in the majority of processed foods. Therefore, everything from salad dressings and breakfast cereals to soups, potato chips and sodas contain ingredients from GMO crops.
The GMO Food Labels Debate
Food manufacturing giants have fought hard against the implementation of these labels. They argue that by having to add the GMO food labels, it suggests that their products are somehow inferior. They suggest that the labeling indicates that there is some reason for concern when research does not support that claim. They also state that this will provide organic food manufacturers with an advantage (as certified organic foods are not permitted to use GMO ingredients).
Still, consumer groups and legislators have been pushing to make it easier for shoppers to know whether or not the products they’re eating contain genetically modified ingredients. The drive toward GMO food labels has been particularly strong in California, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut and Maine.
In 2016, President Barack Obama signed a federal labeling bill into law. Now, it is up to the USDA to decide exactly what the labeling will include. They must have the requirements in place for companies to be able to comply when the law becomes effective in 2020.