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New GMO Labeling Rules Are a Disaster for US Food Transparency

A new disclosure rule issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will not help consumers easily identify food that has been genetically engineered or that contains genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), according to Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports has long been a supporter of mandatory on-package labeling of genetically engineered food, on the grounds that consumers have the right to know what is in their food and make informed choices based on what is disclosed on labels.  But the new rule gives companies the option of providing disclosure via electronic means rather than providing on-package information.  And it exempts from disclosure large swaths of the food supply,  including soft drinks containing high fructose corn syrup from genetically engineered corn, and oil from GMO corn, soy and canola.

“The USDA’s new disclosure rule will likely keep many consumers in the dark about whether the food they buy has been genetically engineered,” said Michael Hansen, PhD, senior staff scientist at Consumer Reports.