As the federal government prepared for a shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture late last week issued new rules regarding how genetically modified foods will now be labeled.
Food safety advocates are blasting the rules, saying they will make it tougher for consumers to know if the food they buy has been genetically modified, and even some major food producers are expressing concerns.
According to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the new National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which will now govern how manufacturers, importers, and retailers brand foods that have been bioengineered, “increases the transparency of our nation’s food system, establishing guidelines for regulated entities on when and how to disclose bioengineered ingredients.
The department said the new standard defines bioengineered foods as “those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature” and is set to go into effect 2020.
But food safety advocates and even some significant producers are crying foul, saying the new standard will confuse consumers and hide food that has been genetically modified from view.
Among the concerns: food that once was commonly known as “genetically modified” will now be labeled with the lesser known term “bioengineered (BE) food.”
According to Commons Dreams: “Highly processed ingredients, many products of new genetic engineering techniques and many types of meat and dairy products will not require disclosure. This law does not cover animal feed; meat, eggs, and dairy from animals fed a GMO diet will not require disclosure.”
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