Cornucopia’s Take: The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, USDA’s proposed GMO labeling law, is open for public comment until July 3, 2018. It does not require any foods that have been genetically modified using CRISPR to be labeled GMO, as the USDA contends these modifications could have been produced using traditional plant breeding. The proposed GMO labels, pictured below, look more like biotech propaganda than a consumer awareness label.
US will label GMO foods with smiley faces and sunshine
MIT Technology Review
by Antonio Regalado
The USDA says consumers don’t need to know if food has been modified using CRISPR.
Why now: A 2016 law gave the agricultural agency the job of deciding how to label foods that contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms), so that consumers know about them.
The document: On May 3, the agency released a 106-page National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The public has two months to comment on the proposal.
The small print: Foods containing GMOs will be henceforth be labelled “BE,” “bioengineered,” or even “may be bioengineered.” Because, really, who can tell anymore? More than 90 percent of US corn and soybeans is genetically modified already, mostly to resist herbicide sprays and insects.
Good vibes: The agency proposed a variety of smiley-face labels companies can use (they can also employ a QR code instead). The standards pre-empt a Vermont law that had food makers labeling their products “produced with genetic engineering.”
Gene-editing exemption: The labeling rules don’t apply if genetic engineers use CRISPR to alter plant DNA in ways that mimic “conventional breeding” or can be “found in nature.” According to the US government, that doesn’t qualify as bioengineering.