If other countries require labeling of GMO products while the US doesnt, what labeling policies then applies to the import and export of goods between our countries and others? Are they labeled when we receive them? Do we label when we export them to abide by that countries requirements?
Submitted by: kjohnson639
Expert response from Scott Kohne
NAFTA Market Acceptance Manager, Seeds Unit, Bayer LP
Friday, 06/19/2015 14:17
As noted in your question, some countries have put in place requirements for GMO labeling on food products sold within that country. Here in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have authority over food labeling and mandate what information to present on labels for consumers. The FDA uses a science-based standard to evaluate GMO products and then sets the requirements for food product labels that are focused on safety and nutritional information. The FDA has formally stated that GMO products that have been approved for commercial use in the U.S. are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts and pose no safety issues. If there were a GMO that posed a safety related concern or had a nutrition profile that was not substantially similar to a conventional counterpart (if it were commercialized), the FDA would require that the appropriate safety or nutritional information be applied to the packaging of that food product. For those who want to choose non-GMO foods, there already exists a voluntary nationwide labeling system that allows manufacturers to identify their product as “organic“ or “non-GMO.”
Food products being imported into the U.S. need to comply with FDA requirements. They do need to meet the same FDA requirements as any food material produced here in the U.S. and identify the nutritional information and any safety related requirements on them. Additionally, the labeling on those foods would need to comply with the federal “Truth in Labeling Act.”
Foods being produced or packaged in the U.S. and exported to those countries that do have GMO labeling requirements would need to comply with the specific labeling requirements for that country. There are different requirements for many of these countries, which creates additional costs and complexities for both the food manufacturer and exporter and for consumers in that country. Remember that these GMO products are regulated in many countries and a part of the regulatory approval process is the evaluation of the safety and nutritional facts of the GMO product – the same evaluation as conducted in the U.S.