2015 was a year filled with updates about trends with GMO labeling. In fact, if you have been following the news related to GMOs, you may be aware of the developments at the end of 2015 regarding possible legislation where it would not be required for states to have companies share products that contain GMOs. The GMO labeling portion of the spending bill did not go through.
The state of Vermont, which passed a law in 2014 requiring GMO labeling to take effect this summer, was very happy with the outcome of this bill. According to the article “Congress doesn’t block GMO label law,” Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said, “This is a victory for Vermont consumers. Our GMO labeling law is about giving them the right to know what is in their food. It is ridiculous that some in Congress want to prevent Vermont from granting to its citizens that right. I want to thank the best congressional delegation in America for having Vermont’s back on this issue in D.C.”
Are GMO’s Safe?
Food industries still say that food containing GMO ingredients are safe, and the Food and Drug Administration has also declared GMO ingredients to be safe and has not supported mandated labeling.
In December the FDA decided to approve the sale of genetically engineered salmon, and feels that this salmon doesn’t need to have any special labeling. This decision has been countered with a negative public response because individuals want to know what they are buying. Will the failure to label GMO salmon hurt the industry?
Does mandatory labeling of “GMO” foods add cost to food production?
Many are against GMO labeling because of cost. There are a variety of factors that are used to calculate the cost of labeling including:
- The cost of printing new labels.
- Determining what needs to be printed on the label.
- The cost of all foods and ingredients. This will increase when mandatory labeling laws are passed, and all manufactures will have to decide if they will be GMO-free or carry the mandatory GMO label.
- The addition of separate handling and processing facilities.
- The cost of formulating new products and the inevitable fight for supermarket shelves.
According to the blog “The Foodie Farmer”, farmers pick what they grow based on their soil and many grow 3-4 different varieties of products such as corn. If GMO labeling were to pass, huge additions would be needed both on and off the farm. This blogger believes it would take billions of dollars in infrastructure for grain segregation.
A Look at the Future of GMO Labeling
A few companies have started to take sides with this debate. Campbell Soup Co. recently took a stand and announced support of mandatory labeling regarding GMO ingredients. Vermont may be the first to find out what mandatory GMO labeling will mean for manufactures and consumers. We will continue to keep you posted on this trend and what it means for the food and labeling industries!