The USDA has proposed a rule for mandatory labels on genetically engineered foods. And the proposal is a travesty for the farmers who work to produce non-GMO foods and the consumers who want to know what’s in their food.
USDA appears to have set out to mislead and confuse most consumers:
. Instead of using the long-accepted terms genetically engineered, GE, or GMO, the agency is proposing to use terminology that most consumers would not recognize, namely “bioengineered” and its acronym “BE.”
· Companies would be able to use a symbol instead of words or letters – and USDA’s proposed symbol includes a smiley face or a sun in pretty yellow and green colors. That’s not informational labeling, its propaganda!
· While the USDA’s own study showed that many consumers would be unable to read digital QR codes (because of a lack of a smartphone, unreliable internet, or otherwise), the agency is still proposing to allow companies to use digital QR codes in place of readable labels
THE SOLUTION: On-package text using the accepted terms “GE” or “GMO”, or an easily understood neutral symbol.
And, more fundamentally, the USDA’s proposed rule doesn’t even include many foods made from genetically engineered ingredients:
· New forms of genetic engineering such as CRISPR (gene editing) and Synbio (Synthetic Biology) could be excluded. So only foods with the older GMO crops would be labeled, while consumers would be left in the dark about all the new foods coming down the line — such as oranges, cacao, potatoes, soy, and canola – using CRISPR and other gene-manipulating technology.
· The agency has left open whether many processed foods made with GE commodity crops should require labels. Many of these products, such as cooking oils, sodas, and candies, are so highly refined that current DNA tests may or may not “show” the GE content in the final product, despite the original ingredient indisputably being GE. If left out, hundreds of GE foods will not have to be disclosed.
THE SOLUTION: Any food made with ingredients that were genetically engineered by any method should be labeled as such.
If you sign an online petition, USDA will count all of those signatures as a single comment. To really make your voice heard, you need to submit your comment directly to the USDA.
In addition, personal comments that explain your reasons have a greater impact. It’s more effective to comment on just one or two of the issues, and include your reasons, than to simply list all the problems we discuss above.
Deadline: Tuesday, July 3, 2018, at 11:59 pm.
Before you go to the Regulations.gov website, write your comment down in Word or another file – that way, if there is an internet glitch, you don’t lose it.
I am a [farmer, small food business, consumer, parent …. ]. I urge USDA to provide clear, on-package labeling of foods that contain ingredients made from genetically engineered crops, regardless of the specific type of technology used.
Use the discussion above to help you choose which issue(s) you want to comment on. Your comment can be as short or as long as you like – what matters most is providing your individual thoughts and reasons.
To submit a comment online:
1. Go to
2. Copy and paste your comment in the top box, or attach the file
3. Fill out your personal information and then click the “continue” button at the bottom.
4. It will go to a page that shows you what your comment will look like on the site. It also allows you to edit the comment if you want to.
5. At the bottom, there will be a statement that you have to confirm: “You are filing a document into an official docket. Any personal information included in your comment and/or uploaded attachment(s) may be publicly viewable on the web. I read and understand the statement above.”
6. Click the box, then click “submit comment” under it. The site will give you a receipt with your comment number on it.
You can also send your comment in by fax: (202) 690-0338
Faxed comments should include the following reference:
Date Posted: May 4, 2018
Federal Register Number: 2018-09389
Docket ID: AMS-TM-17-0050Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)Parent Agency: Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Thank you for taking action!