Food manufacturers will be mandated to place labels on GMO inclusive products beginning in 2020. The Department of Agriculture in the United States of America proposed new guidelines for labeling food that comprises genetically modified ingredients. Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is an organism with genetic material that has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.
People fear, dread, and most likely won’t buy products labeled with the terms “GMO” and “genetically engineered,” solely because the terms are stigmatized. As an alternative, GMO whole foods will be labeled “Bioengineered” or “BE.” The Department of Agriculture’s guidelines state that food manufacturers would be given a choice of three methods, namely, to spell out the information, using a standard icon, or affixing a QR (Quick Response code) that directs consumers to a website with information about the products.
GMO inclusive products have always sparked debates on whether it is right or not. Before the stigma that surrounds GMO products, it still causes public anxiety. Despite scientific studies and proof that GMO goods pose no health threats, the majority of consumers still prefer natural goods. The stigma around GMO and the upcoming mandate on manufacturers to label their goods with the altered substances, post a threat to their businesses.
The labels do not cover all genetically engineered goods. Scientists can merely edit out a part of the goods’ genetic information with new-editing technologies. Scientists can also insert a desirable trait from one breed to another of the same species. As for crops, alterations can be achieved by conventional breeding and natural mutation. Refined sugars and oils, like those made from genetically modified sugar beets and corn, which typically contain no genetic material after being processed are also exempted. All of those as mentioned earlier are excluded from the proposed labels.
Most consumer and manufacturer groups, who support the labeling move, oppose the exclusion of other products from being labeled. The step will restrain the public from knowing more about what they are putting in their stomachs. The whole purpose of the labeling move is to educate the public and remove the stigma around bioengineered products. If other goods will be excluded from the labeling, the whole goal of educating the consumers is sabotaged.