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Court Smacks USDA for Lack of Transparency in GMO Labeling

OCA and our allies have campaigned for years to force the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, raising millions of dollars and mobilizing millions of voters in hotly contested ballot initiatives in California (2012), Oregon (2013), and Washington State (2014). In 2014 we helped grassroots activists in Vermont successfully pass a mandatory labeling bill that put Monsanto and large food companies selling unlabeled GMO-tainted foods in a dangerous bind. If food companies like Nestle, Unilever, Coca-Cola, and General Mills were forced to obey the labeling law in Vermont, they would be forced to label nationwide as well, or else suffer from boycotts and severe public relations damage. And of course if they did the right thing and labeled nationwide, millions of consumers would refuse to buy their “Frankenfoods.”

Traitors in the organic movement, led by Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm, Whole Foods Market, and the Organic Trade Association, collaborated with Monsanto, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and the Obama administration to pass the 2016 DARK act, outlawing state mandatory labeling laws such as Vermont and implementing a bogus and misleading “bioengineered” disclosure law that left it up to companies whether they actually put a “bioengineered” label on their products or simply used a QR computer “smart code” that would supposedly lead consumers to their website to obtain info on Genetically Engineered ingredients.

After prolonged litigation by the Center for Food Safety, a longtime OCA ally, and others a federal court finally ruled last week on the “bioengineered” disclosure law.

As Carey Gillam reports: “Years of legislative and court battles over the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods took another turn this week when a federal court determined on Tuesday that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) erred in allowing food companies to label GE products simply with digital codes that consumers have to scan, without any accompanying disclosure options.

Under USDA rules that took full effect earlier this year, food made with genetically modified crops can be labeled simply as ‘bioengineered’ (BE), or come with a QR code guiding consumers to more information online, among other options.

But the court said those rules did not comply with the law, and found that the USDA knew that allowing ‘standalone electronic disclosure’ would not provide consumers ‘sufficient access’ to disclosures about bioengineering involved in creating certain products…”

Learn more: Court Smacks USDA for Lack of Transparency in GMO Labeling

OCA looks forward to testing GE 2.0 fake, so-called “plant-based,” meat and dairy products and exposing the labeling fraud of those SynBio companies who refuse to be honest with consumers about what’s really in their products. Last week’s court’s ruling unfortunately allows fake lab meat and dairy manufacturers to continue to self-declare whether “highly refined” ingredients (such as those found in SynBio foods) are GE or not.

Read the Center for Food Safety press release: Court Rules "QR" Codes Alone Unlawful for GMO Food Labeling