The public commenting period is now open for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposal for labeling products that use GMOs, and you can add your comment by following the below link (luckily the process is simple and the link takes you directly to a simple-to-use comment submission form).
The deadline for the new rules to be finalized is July 29, 2018.
According to Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, the new proposal constitutes “a gift to industry from our now Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who authored the legislation to squash the Vermont GMO labeling law and mandatory labels.”
She especially believes that the proposal is deceptive because most consumers don’t know what the term bioengineered means, as most know the term GMO or genetic engineering, the latter of which is usually used on packaged foods in Europe that are labeled (most are imported since Europe largely bans the cultivation of GMOs).
“(The) USDA’s exclusion of the well-established terms, GE and GMO, as options will confuse and mislead consumers, and the agency must instead allow the use of those terms,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive direct for the Center for Food Safety.
The new rules also allow companies selling potential GMO products like sweet corn to include the label “may be bioengineered,” and also allow companies to use a system of QR codes instead of labels, which are time consuming and discriminatory to the 1/3 of American shoppers who don’t have smartphones, consumer advocates say.
“This is a ‘Call to Action’ to all Americans who have waited for decades to finally have GE foods labeled,” says Kimbrell.
“In 1991 the World Health Organization challenged scientists to create a simpler, safer, cheaper way to vaccinate children. Scientists … about plants, since plants naturally make a number of different compounds, they could be reprogrammed to make edible vaccines.”