November 24, 2015


FDA issues final guidance on labelling of GE plant-derived foods


The US Food and Drug Administration has released its "Guidance for Industry" on voluntary labelling whether foods have or have not been derived from genetically engineered plants. Food derived from GE plants, according to the guidance, includes plant-derived foods for animals.


The FDA said food manufacturers may voluntarily label their foods with information about whether the foods were not produced using bioengineering, as long as such information is truthful and not misleading.


Examples of labels from the FDA include:


- "Not bioengineered."
- "Not genetically engineered."
- "Not genetically modified through the use of modern biotechnology."
- "We do not use ingredients that were produced using modern biotechnology."
- "This oil is made from soybeans that were not genetically engineered."

- "Our corn growers do not plant bioengineered seeds."


FDA made an example of a label that might by itself be truthful but could be misleading where

a particular ingredient in the food was not bioengineered but another ingredient was bioengineered, about which the label is silent.


Soy producers pleased 


The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed the guidance, which was issued on Nov. 19.


"Establishing a uniform standard for voluntary labelling has been a key part of ASA's push to reduce consumer confusion about which foods do and do not contain ingredients derived from biotechnology", it said.


ASA President Wade Cowan said he was happy that the FDA guidance affirmed voluntary rather than mandatory labeling, adding that the White House had also rejected a petition calling for the mandatory labeling of GMOs.


"We have consistently said that explicit labeling should be reserved for health or safety concerns, and science has time and time again proven that these concerns don't apply to GMOs," said Cowan, who is a Texas farmer.


"Slapping a warning label on the front of a food product when no such warning is warranted will only serve to steer people away from the safe and affordable food they need to feed their families" he added. - Rick Alberto