by Marion Nestle
Aug 24 2016

For the record: the GMO labeling bill

At the end of July, President Obama signed S. 764 — National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, the GMO labeling law.

It requires food product labels to disclose GMO ingredients, but companies can decide for themselves among three options:

  • On-package labels
  • A symbol (yet to be developed by USDA)
  • A link to a smartphone app or website (QR code)

But first the USDA has to figure out what the rules are.  It gets two years to propose rules, collect comments, repropose rules, etc.  It has established a web page for tracking progress.

The process is unlikely to be simple.  The law says sugar from beets grown from GMO seeds do not have to be labeled, but the USDA says it gets to decide how all this will work.

Just Label It collected signatures on a letter to major food companies asking them to adopt the first option: an on-package statement [I signed the letter and so did lots of other people].

The Organic Consumers Association has collected half a million signatures in its campaign to support the on-package statement.  This group calls QR codes “the Mark of Monsanto” and suggests a “buycott” of products from the Grocery Manufacturers Association and its members for supporting this preemptive law.

Expect the labeling fights to drag on for years.  In the meantime, Mars and other companies have gone right ahead and put on-package disclosures on their candy labels.

And the world did not come to an end.

Just label it!