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GMO Labeling: Final Ruling

The USDA issued its final rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) last month and it is a win for producers of GMO crops in the USA and a loss for consumers who had hoped the labeling laws would promote transparency rather than create more confusion about what is in our food and how it is grown.

For refined foods that are derived from bioengineered crops, no disclosure is required if the food does not contain detectable modified genetic material,” according to the advance Federal Register notice. As such, refined beet sugar, soybean oil and corn sweeteners, all mostly from bioengineered seed, would not need to be labeled as a bioengineered ingredient under the new rule. However, adequate testing must have been performed to prove that there was no detectable material. In the case of beet sugar, Luther Markwart, executive vice-president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, said samples from all 23 North American sugar beet factories were tested and no detectable material was found and no further testing needs to be done (Sosland Sweetener Report, Jan 2, 2019).

And if a food does contain a bioengeneered ingredient, a new BE label will be used rather than the more familiar term, GMO creating less clarity for the American consumer.

The Non-GMO Project is disappointed by the content of the final rule, which jeopardizes GMO transparency for Americans:

In its current form, categorical exemptions prevent this law from delivering the meaningful protections Americans deserve. Overall, many products containing GMOs will not be labeled, meaning that the absence of a bioengineered (BE) disclosure does not mean a product is non-GMO.

In light of these developments, the Non-GMO Project and organic certifications will be the only way a consumer can be assured that their sugar is non-GMO.

Sugaright liquid cane sugar is available as Non-GMO Project Verified in support of consumers who demand transparent labeling.

Please contact us for more information.

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