Placeholder Banner

GMO Labels: What You Need to Know

Michael Stebbins
February 15, 2019

The labeling of our food has been a conversation for several decades. Whether it’s nutritional facts, ingredient lists, marketing claims, or how appealing one label looks over another, food labels are of interest to almost everyone. Lately the conversation around food labels has moved from name of the product, weight of the product and nutrition in that product, to the question of whether foods be labeled with regards to presence of GMOs.

So much so that in 2016, the United States Congress passed a law, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, with clear instructions and definitions on how products containing ingredients derived from genetically modified (GMO) crops should be labelled.

Fast forward more than two years, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency tasked with implementing the law, has issued its guidelines of how this law will be put in practice. Labeling of bioengineered food (commonly known as GMOs or GM food) may take effect as early as February 2019, but is mandatory for all retail food products that are bioengineered or contain bioengineered ingredients by January 1, 2022.

And while the guidelines may be confusing and complex, GMO Answers has taken a look at the language and deciphered it for you.  This new resource, Here's everything you need to know about USDA’s National Bioengineered (BE) Food Disclosure Standard, tells you, well, everything you as a consumer needs to know.

From what's covered in the law (and what's not) to what the labels could look like, this reference has it all.  And most importantly, it reminds you that GMOs are not something to worry about or avoid because yes, GMOs are safe to eat.

That is the overwhelming consensus of scientific experts and major scientific authorities around the world, including the World Health Organization, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and American Medical Association.

In the spring of 2016, The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) issued a comprehensive report where a panel of more than 20 scientists, researchers, agricultural and industry experts reviewed over 20 years of data since GMOs were introduced, including nearly 900 studies and tests and European and North American health data. They concluded – as other previous research concluded – that genetically modified crops are safe to eat, have the same nutrition and composition as non-genetically modified crops and have no links to new allergies, cancer, celiac or other diseases.

Extensive and continued studies on GMOs are being conducted to ensure their ongoing safety. In addition to the NAS analysis, there are thousands of studies available confirming the safety of GMOs, as well as hundreds of independent studies.

So while you don't need to worry about GMOs in your food, if you do want to know more about the new labels you may seeing in your grocery store soon, check out this resource from GMO Answers.