Consumers will lose trust in the food industry if USDA does not mandate that refined ingredients such as oils and sugars derived from bioengineered crops are subject to GMO labeling, says the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).
In comments filed with the USDA on its proposed rule laying out a national bioengineered food standard, the GMA urged the agency to include refined ingredients in its ‘bioengineered’ definition, even if they contain no detectable modified DNA, or face charges of ‘hiding’ information from shoppers.
Echoing comments made by two of its departing members (Hershey and Unilever), the GMA said excluding refined ingredients from the scope of the mandatory disclosure would result in around 78% fewer products being disclosed under the federal law, making something of a mockery of the exercise.
It will confuse consumers, erode trust in brands and the technology and encourage further polarizing activism about what is perceived to be information ‘hidden’ by brands, the food industry, institutions and policymakers.
The final rule should also establish a threshold of 0.9% by weight of bioengineered ingredients intentionally added to a finished food product, which would “be compatible with voluntary certification standards in the U.S. that make similar de minimis allowances for products that are described as non-GMO,” added the GMA.