GMO Labeling Law Could Increase Complexity

by Jessica Plourde Hutter, on October 3, 2016

GMO Labeled FoodsPassage of the national GMO labeling law only marks the beginning of a long process.

The passage of a national GMO labeling law through Congress may feel like the end of a long debate over food and beverage ingredient disclosure. It's only the beginning, however.

Though the new law, which President Obama signed at the end of July, mandates that all food and beverage items declare the inclusion of any genetically modified ingredients, consumers shouldn't expect to see these labels any time soon. That's because federal agencies now have to go through the lengthy process of writing the rules that will govern this process.

"We still don't know how much information the government will ask producers to provide."

First, the Department of Agriculture will have to explain what it considers to be a genetically modified organism, according to a post on Crop Protection News. This could take as long as two years to complete. Then, it will have to specify what qualifies as an acceptable label. At the moment, it appears the federal government will accept URLs and scannable barcodes as well as more traditional labels - as we've written before - which would make a big difference in terms of the ease by which consumers can access this information.

Given that many food and beverage companies produce products that contain GMO and non-GMO ingredients, the final makeup of these rules will determine the overall complexity of future labeling efforts. How complex could this get? We still don't know how much information the government will ask producers to provide, and whether the rules will change as new scientific research on GMOs confirms or calls into question their safety for human consumption.

Luckily, an Enterprise Labeling Solution can help firms deal with complex labeling requirements with ease, even as they evolve over time. 

For more on Food and Beverage labeling, download our on demand webinar "Food Labeling 2.0: Taking Farm-to-Fork Visibility to a New Level" today.


Topics:Food & Beverage