The USDA has approved a GMO-Free label for meat and liquid egg products, setting a precedent for other meat and poultry companies that want to label their products GMO-Free.
The GMO-Free label verifies that meat endorsed by the Non-GMO Project originates from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa.
The New York Time’s Stephanie Strom points out that this is the first time the USDA has approved a GMO-Free label claim.
The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service allows companies to advertise claims on their labels that indicate they meet third-party certifying standards, such as the Non-GMO Project.
This is a huge development considering the battles being waged over labeling GMO foods. The biotech industry is at war, intensely lobbying in over 20 states that are considering laws making the labeling of GMO food mandatory.
Big Food and the biotech industry spent more than $45 million to defeat California’s Prop 37, which would have mandated the labeling of GMO ingredients, but Monsanto and their minions now want to avoid the cost of funding future fights against GMO labeling, which could quickly spread to upwards of 30 states.
For example, although the bill needs House approval, the Connecticut Senate voted unanimously on a GMO labeling law.
The legislation was a compromise in that it does not require companies to label foods containing GMOs outright, rather it requires that four other states pass similar legislation in order to “trigger” Connecticut’s labeling requirement.
“People want to know what they’re eating. Parents want to know what they’re feeding their children. They want to know what the health issues [are] and be able to ask questions,” said Senate President Donald Williams.
Stephanie notes more and more companies are voluntarily labeling their products, including most recently the successful restaurant chain Chipotle, which now highlights items containing genetically engineered ingredients on its online menu.
“Our goal is to eliminate GMOs from Chipotle’s ingredients, and we’re working hard to meet this challenge,” the company explains.
“For example, we recently switched our fryers from soybean oil to sunflower oil. Soybean oil is almost always made from genetically modified soybeans, while there is no commercially available GMO sunflower oil. Where our food contains currently unavoidable GM ingredients, it is only in the form of corn or soy.”
And meat from animals that eat GMO-Free feed, like certified organic meats, is highly prized by more and more consumers.