greekmiss's picture
Why are products containing GMO plants not clearly labeled in the grocery store?

A:Expert Answer

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.


rickspalding's picture

Because they don't have to be. Every other civilised country either bans it or has it labelled. Knowledge is power and many consumers have no clue what GMO is. Putting it on a label will make them aware. The corporations false premise logic is that if it is on the label it is bad. THat is ridiculous.

The Man Above's picture

"We are often accused of being against labeling. We are not."

That's really good to know, thank you for that, much appreciated.

Now, if you have so much confidence in your products, tell the world! Big letters on every product that contains them: "Proudly contains GMOs". Go on, don't be shy.

Pixiechris's picture

Stop with your biotech BS!! You are lying! How do you sleep at night knowing karma will find you??

Pixiechris's picture

What gives you the right to use us as lab-rats?

gmosrock's picture

Bill Reeves's picture

Food ingredient labels rely on the idea that each ingredient has a common or usual name. Sugar, corn starch, salt, high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, etc. One of the reasons for submitting each and every new GMO to FDA for a consultative review is to demonstrate that the common or usual name still applies based on the nutrient content, vitamin and mineral content, lack of alteration to the allergenic or toxic potential of the crop plant and absence of adverse impacts on the plant genome. Typically, there are no differences between the GMO and the conventional control so the common or usual name still applies.

Recently, Monsanto developed soybeans with increased levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. This intentional change to the composition of the oil necessiated a new common or usual name. When this product is placed on the market, the ingredient list will show this new common or usual name.

A primary benefit of this system is that a manufacturer cannot make up a new ingredient name like "Super good for you cancer preventing sugar" in an attempt to get buyers to believe their ingredient is somehow different from all other sugar on the market when there are no data to back up the claim. Likewise, the data for each new GMO allow and assessment of whether corn is still corn, soy is still soy, etc. and whether a new common or usual name is needed.

FDA's summary of food labeling is here:

FDA's summary of GMO consultation reviews is here:
In the links on that page, FDA summarizes the data submitted for each product and any relevant findings.

Food companies are free to add labels about GMO content and this is clearly perceived by companies like Chipotle, Whole Foods, Archer Farms, Ben and Jerry's, etc. as a way to differentiate their product and increase market share among their target demographic groups. Testing costs money and they can charge a premium for their products as a result. Using labeling to imply FDA and USDA are asleep at the wheel, however, is disingenuous. The US food supply is among the safest in the world precisely because of the efforts of FDA, USDA and this country's food producers.

Know Them By Their Fruits's picture

Here is a 2012 study that revealed that GMO corn was nutritionally deficient AND contained more toxins when compared to non-GMO corn:

So please stop using this excuse to explain the lack of transparency in getting GMOs labelled.

I have seen no good reasons offered as to why GMO should not be labelled on this site, as long as the industry resists the labelling, the public will rightfully remain suspicious.

sportzjunkman Medlock's picture

The FDA is the same thing as Monsanto. They will fight labeling. Why is there so much lobbying money against labeling if you really think there is not a difference?

SaveMyFood's picture

Monsanto supports labeling... I guess it's just coincidence that this site pops up as labeling campaigns are gaining steam? YES ON 522!

jtrav21's picture

@Know Them By Their Fruits - the page you link to references a study that has very little scientific basis and has been repeatedly questioned by the scientific community. Can you further substantiate how it provides any evidence for the claim that gm corn is nutritionally different from non-gm corn? Would you agree that the data they represent is most likely from soil samples, and not corn samples?

QuestionEverything's picture

According to the USDA, 90% of all corn, and 93% of all soybeans planted in the US in 2013 was GM. Any company actively seeking out and paying a premium for the remaining 7-10% is labeling their product "non-GMO" or "Certified Organic" voluntarily. Anything else containing any corn or soy products most likely contains GMOs. Why do we need a giant label on it that says "May contain GMOs"? For perspective, I am a vegetarian, and choose not to consume meat or animal byproducts (which are full of hormones, antibiotics, etc.). It is MY responsibility to READ the ingredient label, and be aware of ingredients (such as gelatin) that some do not know to be animal byproducts. Some baked goods, for example contain animal shortenings, including lard, which many people also have religious objections to eating. It's right there on the ingredient list, though - no need for a "Caution-Contains Pork" label. Anyone with an objection to consuming a particular ingredient (for whatever reason) should arm themselves with the knowledge to evaluate their own food, and not demand that the government force companies to do this for them.

Cornlover's picture

Most of the gmo corn grown in this country is for is not for human use,

pierre23thomas's picture

They say that urine that is filtered and turned into water is healthier than the water we drink. However, if they started selling filtered urine to consumers without labels I'd put up a fight because I want to know what's in my water as I want to know what's in my food. And if you can't tell me what's in my food then I don't trust you. You not putting labels on your products just makes you look bad.