Q: I want to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) when I buy food. But I still don’t understand the current labels on products, and I read that GMO labels based on a new law might start appearing. Can you provide a rundown of what I need to know to stay away from GMOs when I shop?
Knowing how to avoid buying genetically engineered foods, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), was confusing for consumers before the USDA published its final National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) in the Federal Register on December 21, 2018. Believe it or not, the new law actually has made the whole process even more convoluted!
Under the new law, some products may disclose that they are bioengineered in 2020; others by 2022. But don’t take that disclosure too seriously. Consumer groups have spoken out against many loopholes and omissions in the new law. “The USDA has betrayed the public trust by denying Americans the right to know how their food is produced,” says Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at the Center for Food Safety. “Instead of providing clarity and transparency, they have created large-scale confusion and uncertainty for consumers, food producers, and retailers.” According to the Non-GMO Project, the new law: