For several years, legislative bodies throughout the country have struggled with the issue of whether to label food products as containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or bioengineered food. Congress and various states have wrestled with whether to require foods containing GMOs to be labeled as such, and, if so, what the label should look like.
The concept of “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, has always been a murky one. Food manufacturers have grappled with a consistent definition, as well as how to label foods that are GMO-free. The USDA stepped in with a plan to rein in all of that. But with a July 2018 target date for implementation, the clock is ticking — and there’s a lot left unsettled.
What happens next for GMO and Non-GMO Food Labeling in 2018?
In July 2016, Congress voted to pass a GMO disclosure bill, establishing national standards for food labeling when foods contain GMO ingredients (with certain exceptions). Congress voted to mandate GMO labeling with a deadline of 2018 for enacting laws. However, it’s unlikely that we’ll have any finalized law this summer, as the USDA has extended the period for public input to the end of August.
We’re just months away from the target deadline, and many questions remain unanswered:
- What qualifies as GMO or bioengineered?
- Where do new gene editing technologies such as CRISPR fit into the debate?
- What should a label say?
- When would food manufacturers actually have to start labeling their products as GMO?
What will the new GMO and Non-GMO Food labeling law mean for you?
Before President Obama signed the law, but in the midst of the legislative battle over GMO labeling, several food companies—including Whole Foods Market, General Mills and Danone—had announced their own plans to provide information to consumers regarding the presence of GMOs in food products. It remains to be seen what these, and other, companies that have announced various methods of voluntary GMO labeling will do as they await USDA’s labeling regulations and whether they will alter their labeling policies in response to the final regulations.
The good news is that clarity and consistency could help businesses distribute to larger markets. And from a marketing perspective, new laws would add a level of transparency that consumers are demanding. For now, food manufacturers and distributors should prepare by taking a comprehensive look at their processes, ingredient decks, and ingredient suppliers. They should be nimble enough to comply with any new rules right out of the gate. Importantly, that means having all the right partnerships in place to ensure you will be in full compliance.
Fortress Nutrition Is Ready For The Change
We’re pioneers in food trends, and we’re ready for any changes that come our way. Fortress Nutrition LLC has a solid history of meeting strict specifications for our customers based on consumer preference, restrictive diets and much more.
Rest assured that you’re in good hands with Fortress Nutrition. To learn more about how we tailor our blending, ingredient sourcing, logistics, consumer packaging, and other services to meet customer needs, and to find out how we can partner with you to ensure compliance with new GMO laws, contact us today.