Where, Oh Where are the Bio-Engineered Labels?
As of Jan 1, 2022, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law (NBFD) went into effect. This law passed by Congress in 2016 requires the disclosure of bioengineered food to consumers.
But considering how much of the food consumed in the US comes from genetically modified (GMO) raw ingredients, why is there nary a BE label in sight at the local supermarket?
Background: The NBFD Exemptions
Almost all of the corn, soy and sugar beets in the US are grown from GMO seeds, but because the law ONLY requires food that actually CONTAIN more than 5% modified material AFTER processing, many of these ingredients became exempt from the labeling laws. For context, the European Union uses a 0.9% threshold for most foods. This exemption includes refined sugar made from sugar beets genetically modified to be resistant to Round-Up (glyphosate).
Other reasons for the absence of a sudden surge in BE labels is that manufacturers can use other labeling options including simple text or the scannable QR code. In addition, any product labeled USDA Organic is also exempt from these labeling laws.
If a consumer expected a SIMPLE label with the assurance of the USDA to give them more information about how their food was grown, they were out of luck.
So based on the dearth of labels, one would wonder if this new law did ANYTHING at all to inform and impact consumer choice????
The Survey Says....
A couple of faculty members at Cornell University Research asked a similar question.
Aaron Adalja and Jura Liaukonyte, examined sales data from cereal products in Vermont after the state enacted its own GMO labeling law. Contrary to previous studies that indicated the mandatory labels for products made with bioengineered food would herald big swings in consumer preferences and buying, this new study shows that the most impactful labeling to consumers was the voluntary certification from the Non-GMO Project.
For the people who care about this attribute — GMO versus non GMO — they have the information on the shelves already to figure out which products are GMO and which products are non-GMO. While this is a voluntary disclosure, products need to meet much more stringent standards to earn the butterfly seal.”
Giving Consumers What They Want, Transparently
Here at Sugaright, we always see change as opportunity. Innovative food manufacturers continue to leverage growing consumer attention on non-GMO food options to expand their portfolio to capture this rapidly growing market.
We offer Non-GMO Project Certified liquid sugar made from non-GMO sugarcane to meet the demand for products that earned the butterfly label; recognized by consumers who care.
Sugaright values both transparency in the food chain and the work of the Non-GMO Project to give consumers the third-party verified assurance that they need to make the right food choices for their families.
Contact us to learn more.