It’s been a while since we’ve written about the state of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling in the US and we thought you might like a 2018 GMO labeling laws update.
All Tommy’s products are verified Non-GMO, and we’re proud of it! That’s not the case for a lot of other food products out there and, even in 2018, many major food manufacturers still resist labeling laws, afraid that by labeling their products as containing GMOs, it will scare away consumers.
How do you feel about GMO labeling?
While some people don’t care about eating GMOs, a lot do. We aren’t the only ones.
Organic producers, companies like Tommy’s Superfoods, and some consumer advocacy groups continue to fight for the right of all consumers to know what food products in their refrigerator or pantry contain genetically modified organisms.
New Proposed Guidelines
In May, the USDA proposed new guidelines for the labeling of genetically modified food products. With these guidelines in place, all food makers across the country would be required to label any GMO food products under federal law.
If they are approved, these new labeling laws will take effect in 2020. But don’t party yet!
About the Proposed New GMO Labeling Laws:
Many advocacy groups have stated that they don’t believe the proposed GMO labeling laws are strong enough or that they will really help consumers know what’s in their food. According to Just Label It, the draft rule has the following potential issues:
Potential GMO loopholes – The draft rule does not say whether or not companies will have to disclose GMO sugars and oils, or ingredients that have been created through new technologies such as gene-editing. It also leaves open what threshold the final rule will use.
Use of the word “bioengineered” – The draft rule proposes exclusive use of the word “bioengineered,” rather than the universally accepted (and consumer-friendly) “genetically modified” or “genetically engineered.”
Weak rules around digital disclosures – The proposed rule does not have strong rules for digital disclosures – such as requirements for size, color, and packaging – to ensure that electronic or digital disclosures reliably scan in stores.
No comparable options – The legislation stated that USDA must work with retailers and manufactures to provide comparable options for the millions of Americans who do not have smartphones or adequate cell service. The proposed rule gives no comparable options for these consumers.
You can have a say!
The public has until July 3 to comment on the rule before the USDA makes a decision. If knowing that GMO’s are included in your food is important to you, we would like to encourage you to review the full text of the proposed guidelines (here) and carefully consider if you think this is enough.
Then, you can go to this form to submit a comment directly to the USDA.
Know GMO FAQs
Want to know more about GMOs? Here are some FAQs we often get asked about GMOs, risky foods, and GMO labeling.
What does GMO stand for?
GMO stands for genetically modified organism.
What does it mean if a product is GMO?
Genetically modified organisms are creating using laboratory techniques. Scientists can add or delete genetic material from plants and animals into different plants and animals. They delete genes they find desirable and delete genes that are undesirable. This means that GMO products are made of material that is not found in nature.
In addition, scientists make these changes very quickly. There is often no long-term testing before the modified food is sent to the market. Without testing, genetically modified food can have health risks for humans and the planet.
Know the foods at risk for GMOs
The Non-GMO Project has created a list of what are considered to be “high risk” GMO foods. These are foods that are known to be genetically modified and are widely available for purchase and consumption. Some of these products are:
- Sugar Beets
- Zucchini/Summer squash
But these foods aren’t the only ones at risk for GMOs. A lot of the processed foods that we see in stores actually contain many of these products above. These products can be tricky to spot, especially because they go by so many names, like:
- Amino Acids
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Vitamin C
- Lactic Acid
- Xanthan Gum
These other names are often under the nutrition facts, and can even be included in some “healthy” foods. To avoid hidden GMOs, be sure to read the nutrition facts carefully before buying them.
How to avoid GMOs
With all the risk of buying GMO products and no current GMO labeling laws, how can you avoid them? Here are a few ways that can help you distance yourself from genetically modified foods.
1. Look for non-GMO verified foods
Non-GMO products can be verified by The Non-GMO Project. These foods are evaluated in order to ensure that they do not contain genetically modified organisms. Each product has a non-GMO seal on its packaging, making it easy to spot non-modified products.
2. Shop local and organic
During the warmer months, local farmer’s markets are a great place to get fresh non-GMO foods. If you can’t buy local, but frozen alternatives with the non-GMO label.
3. Grow your own non-GMO food
If you want to make sure your food is not genetically modified, then grow it yourself from non-GMO seeds! Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to eat the foods you want, and to eat sustainably too!
4. Stay away from processed food
Processed food is often made with GMO products. These foods may not scream GMO, but checking their facts or sticking to whole food alternatives will help you make sure you know what you’re eating.
Tommy’s Superfoods is Non-GMO
All of the information on GMOs can be a little overwhelming, and even a little scary! Some say that there are no risks to eating these foods, but we pride ourselves on being non-GMO, and all of our products are Non-GMO Project verified.
Our flash frozen vegetable medleys can help you bring non-GMO foods to your plates. This helps keep the Earth and your tummy happy!
If you still have questions about what GMOs are and how to avoid them, be sure to check out The Non-GMO Project website for more information or leave us a comment, and we’ll do our best to get back to you quickly.