QIf GMOs are so safe, why can't they be labeled on our food?

If GMOs are so safe, why can't they be labeled on our food?

AExpert Answer

In the United States, food is labeled in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy, which is the same for foods derived from biotechnology as it is for conventional foods. For example, when a food product derived from biotechnology differs in composition, nutritional value or end use, that difference must be noted on the label, just as it is with other foods (e.g., margarine vs. low-fat margarine).


As you point out, GMO labeling isn’t about safety. Nearly two decades of science and rigorous global review have demonstrated that biotech crops are safe. Therefore, GMO labeling is about how food is marketed, and there are already voluntary food marketing programs in place. For example, a few food manufacturers and grocery store chains have decided to label “non-GMO” for product or market differentiation purposes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic Program is a recognized example, but the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service also offers process-verification services for companies looking to validate a marketing claim about specific aspects of how a food is grown or processed.


We agree with the need to supply consumers with the information they’re asking for. We’re continuing to have conversations across the value chain and with a variety of stakeholders to figure out how we best meet the request for more information in a way that is scientifically accurate and helpful. 

Posted on August 15, 2017
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Posted on February 9, 2017
A species is defined by the ability to reproduce viable offspring, so any two plants within a species generally have the potential to cross pollinate. Like any good successful mating, it requires the union of male and female contributions at the right time, same place. So absolutely, GE crops have the potential to cross with non-GE crops of the same species—if they manage to get it on through time and space.    So the rules that apply to dogs and teenagers also apply to... Read More
Posted on March 2, 2017
Here is a set of slides prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that discusses the sketch approval process. As the slides indicate, there are four categories of labels that require prior sketch approval: temporary labels, religious exemption, exports with labeling deviations, and special statements and claims. In the situation raised by your question, it is the last category (special statements and claims) that would... Read More