The USDA comment period on its proposed GMO labeling rule brought in more than 11,000 comments from farm groups, consumers, and multinational companies like Hershey’s. Politico says food manufacturers are at odds with farmers over which ingredients should actually be subject to disclosure.
The companies are arguing that foods made with even some genetically modified corn, soybeans, and sugar beets need to have disclosures.
On the other side of the debate, farmers say it’s not accurate to apply the labeling standard to highly refined foods because they often contain no detectable amounts of these products.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest told Reuters that it actually agrees with both sides. Farmers are correct in arguing that their finished ingredients are no different scientifically to their GMO counterparts, but products should still be labeled. The group says, “USDA should read the statute broadly and provide consumers with as much information as possible, but it should be scientifically accurate. They need a different disclosure for highly refined ingredients.”
Consumers, as well as some lawmakers, were more concerned about the new language. USDA has suggested using the term or symbol “BE” or “bioengineered” instead of “GMO” or “GM” for genetically modified.