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. 

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Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More
Posted on March 18, 2018
We invite you to check out a similar question on the topic of GM food labeling that has been answered here.

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