Genetically Engineered Food Labeling

Organic vs. GMO | |


The use of Genetic Engineering (GE), or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), is prohibited in organic products.

This means

* an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds

* an organic cow can’t eat GMO corn

* an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients.

Should GMO foods always be labeled so consumers are aware that the product contains genetically modified ingredients?

Despite the prevalence of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in grocery stores and prepared foods, it remains difficult if not impossible for consumers to determine if the foods they eat contain GMOs.

Which foods contain GMOs?




Sugar beets grown in the U.S. are now genetically engineered,
and they are often used as ingredients in processed foods.

A new form of salmon that is genetically altered to grow to maturity twice as fast as wild salmon is currently undergoing a safety review by the Food and Drug Administration. If approved, it would be the first genetically engineered animal to be marketed.

Potato that is genetically engineered to resist bruising and to have potentially lower levels of acrylamide, a suspected human carcinogen that the vegetable can produce when it is cooked at the high temperatures used to make potato chips and french fries. The FDA hasn’t completed a voluntary safety review for the new GMO potato.

McDonald’s is sticking to its current policy of using only non-GMO potatoes for its fries.


Under FDC Act sections 403(a)(1) and 201(n), a food is misbranded if its labeling is false or misleading in any particular, including by failing to disclose facts material with respect to the consequences which may result from use of the food under customary or usual conditions of use.

The FDA has taken the position that bioengineered foods (FDA prefers the term bioengineered to GE) as a class are not materially different from conventional foods, and therefore there is no basis to require labeling that specifies their method of production.

Currently, the FDA requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes, but the agency has resisted labels for genetically modified foods.

Even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recognized that these foods are materially different and novel for patent purposes.

Sixty-four countries around the world already require the labeling of GE foods, including all the member nations of the European Union, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Would GMO labeling drive up grocery prices?

Mandatory labeling that informs consumers about whether their food contains GMOs would add less than a penny a day to their grocery bills.

Organic vs. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) | |

Recent court decision


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