The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it will begin to verify claims that companies use only non-GMO ingredients. However, companies who make such claims will not be required to obtain USDA approval prior to labelling their products as GMO-free. Instead, companies may pay to participate in the Process Verified Program, submit various auditing documents, and allow the USDA to inspect production facilities.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the USDA move came in response to corporate requests for an official government seal of approval.
Recently, a leading global asked AMS [Agricultural Marketing Service] to help verify that the corn and soybeans it uses in its products are not genetically engineered so that the company could label the products as such,
he explained in a letter to Department staff.
There are currently no guidelines or official procedures for GMO labeling, but the Non-GMO Project also provides labels for verified products at the request of companies who so desire. Whole Foods Markets recently informed its suppliers that it would require all products made with genetically modified ingredients to be labelled. The fast food chain Chipotle also announced in April that it would no longer use GMO ingredients in its food, though its beverages will still contain GMO corn syrup and it will likely be impossible for the company to verify that its animal products were not raised on GMO feed.
Non-GMO labelling provides companies with an advantage in marketing to GMO-wary consumers, though there is no scientific evidence that GMO foods are harmful. Consumers should be aware that products with a non-GMO label are not healthier than those without, and that the fat, sugar, and sodium content of foods are much more important determinants of their impact on personal health.
Read more here – “USDA To Certify Non-GMO Foods With New Label,” (Allison Aubrey, NPR)