USDA Offers Voluntary GMO-Free Labeling
As consumer groups lobby for mandatory labeling of foods with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients, the US Department of Agriculture is rolling out its first certification and labeling program for GMO-free foods. The program is voluntary and companies have to pay the agency for the certification. Currently, companies can label their foods as GMO-free, but there is no official government labeling other than the USDA’s organic certification; all organic products are GMO-free, but not all GMO-free foods are organic. Many companies have adopted a private label verified by the nonprofit Non-GMO Project. Under the USDA plan, the agency would work with companies to certify non-GMO claims as part of its Process Verification Program, much as it now does with such labeling as “humanely raised.”
Despite the push to promote foods as GMO-free, every major health organization has concluded there is no difference in health effects between GMO and non-GMO foods.