What are the labeling requirements for GMOs?

Nowadays, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are highly regulated following the concern from consumers who expect complete transparency about the contents of their food. The US government has updated their labeling requirements to ensure that the use of GMOs is disclosed and any genetically modified ingredients are made aware of. There has been a level of concern regarding the confusion that GMO labeling may create, but with more consumers becoming aware of their intake and wanting to know what goes into their food, there is a much wider understanding of GMOs.

The primary governing bodies in charge of GMO regulation are the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FDA carries out established testing methods to detect GMOs and does not require GMO labeling if there is no detectable GMOs in the final food product. There are certain exemptions from this which include certain meat and dairy products from animals fed with genetically engineered feed and foods which have been produced with the help of genetic engineering techniques.

If GMOs are detectable in a product, disclosing this within the labeling is mandatory. There are various ways in which food manufacturers, importers and retailers are expected to disclose the use of GMOs depending on the nature of the labeling used. The most common is through text on the label which states that the product contains GMOs or bioengineered ingredients, but if space is limited on the label, a specific symbol can be used which is widely recognized due to standardization in the industry. Alternatively, there is an option to digitally disclose GMOs through a website link, phone number, or scannable QR code, allowing the customer to find more detailed information about the GMO content of a food.


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