Expert response from Cathleen Enright
Former Executive Director of the Council for Biotechnology Information
Wednesday, 31/07/2013 15:27
The short answer is that the FDA does not require a label for GMO foods.
The FDA has determined that: “…there is no significant difference between foods produced using bio-engineering, as a class, and their conventional counterparts.”
Many other authorities agree. For example, the American Medical Association stated in June 2012: “There is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods, as a class, and that voluntary labeling is without value unless it is accompanied by focused consumer education.”
The American Association for the Advancement of Sciences stated in October 2012: “The FDA does not require labeling of a food based on the specific genetic modification procedure used in the development of its input crops. Legally mandating such a label can only serve to mislead and falsely alarm consumers.”
This and related questions about labeling are great questions. We are often accused of being against labeling. We are not. We want consumers to know about GMOs and support the right of consumers to choose food that is healthy and nutritious. What we cannot support is a label that conveys to consumers that foods made from the farmers’ crops grown with our seeds are less safe than, lessnutritious than or somehow different from conventional or organic food. We believe a government requirement to label GM food would do just this. Hundreds of independent studies have confirmed the safety of GMOs, and regulatory authorities around the world agree.
We do support the voluntary labeling for the presence or absence of GM ingredients. This type of marketing claim is often used to promote one type of product over another. For consumers opting for food that does not contain GM ingredients, marketing labels such as “USDA Organic” are available.