The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has approved the first labeling system for meat and liquid egg products that specifically indicate that these products (meat and eggs certified organic by the Non-GMO Project) are not only organic, but never fed any genetically modified feed as well.
An article published June 20th in The New York Times, explains that USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service “allows companies to demonstrate on their labels that they meet a third-party certifying organization’s standards, provided that the third-party organization and the company can show that the claims are truthful, accurate and not misleading,” according to a statement made by Cathy Cochran, a USDA spokesperson.
GMO labeling is a current hot button issue in America. The recent defeat of Prop 32 in California demanding mandatory labeling of all foods containing GMOs showed a massive push-back from companies who obviously don’t want people to know what they are eating when ingesting their products. Companies like Kellog’s, Nestle’s, Hershey’s, Campbells, Conagra Foods, and more donated a great deal of money towards lobbying against food labeling. The question is with so many people demanding to know what is in the foods they are buying, why would any food company deny this ingredient transparency? The answer is simple. With the insistence growing nationwide for the U.S. to say no to GMOs as so many other countries already have, these food producers fear that sales would fall remarkably if people knew irrefutably that their products contain GMO ingredients. So why not just make the change to non-GMO ingredients? The bottom line-cost.
The U.S. government subsidizes GMO crops making them cheaper, and with the recent sneaky passage of what we now refer to as the Monsanto Act, our government (and the USDA) can’t even prosecute companies like Monsanto (that engineer GMO seeds) in the event their crops are found to be toxic (harmful) to anyone ingesting them. Studies in France have already proven that rats fed a diet of GMO grains developed cancerous tumors and suffered early death. Another recent study of pigs fed a diet of GMO grains found that they suffered extreme gastrointestinal distress and inflammation of the intestines compared to swine fed a diet of non-GMO slop.
Thanks to the Non-GMO Project, some organic foods will now have the transparency desired by consumers. Other companies such as Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants are now voluntarily labeling their ingredients to include GMOs (or lack thereof) because they are conscious of the demands of the public. Their motto is “Food with Integrity”.
This is a baby step in the right direction for food labeling. It took years to get the USDA on board with labeling calories and trans-fats. The key is continued pressure by consumers. Remember that the customer is always right and the best way to “vote” mandatory food labeling into law is with every dollar spent in the grocery store. Each time a consumer purchases USDA organic (this means no pesticides or GMOs), the companies get the message loud and clear.