Evolva Talks GMO Labeling Law and What's Needed Next

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Following the landmark U.S. decision to enact a law that creates a national standard for labeling food products that contain genetically modified ingredients, Evolva has issued a statement saying it supports the change.

"We have stated early and often (and publicly) that we believe people have a right to know what’s in their food, full stop," the company noted in a recent letter. "We frankly don’t understand—and certainly don’t agree with—the arguments for keeping food ingredient facts and processing aids (of all kinds) hidden from the consumer."

The company continued: "That said, we empathize with those in the food industry who oppose labeling. As countless government and academic reports have concluded over the years—the most recent one being the tome produced in summer 2016 by the National Academies of Science—food ingredients made with or from 'GMO' ingredients are every bit as safe for human consumption as their counterparts - contrary to what some in the profit-focused non-GMO certification industry assert." 

The food industry should seize this opportunity to be more open about their supply chain, in general - Evolva

Transparency and a National Standard 

On July 29, President Barak Obama signed the GMO labeling bill, S.764, into law, overturning Vermont's GMO labeling law. S.764 is an amendment to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national disclosure standard for bioengineered foods. It passed the Senate on a 65-32 vote and the House by a 306-117 vote.

Further, Evolva stated: "Food is no safer today than it was the day before Obama signed this labeling bill into law. But, there is now a new mechanism (what regulators refer to as a “disclosure standard”) through which consumers can learn more about their food. The food industry should seize this opportunity to be more open about their supply chain, in general."

Among Evolva's examples of the industry's transparency already in place such as the QSAR approach that allows producers to explain in greater detail what the food contains, where it was sourced (and how), how the food product (as a whole) is made, how it has been shipped etc. Some critics argue that the new national uniform approach to labeling foods, which will be implemented and managed out of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), should be/would be better managed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, "if anything, the food industry would have been fine with a decision to place this new GMO labeling remit in the hands of the FDA," according to Evolva, based on the agency's argument that that there is no difference in the safety profile of food ingredients produced by and with genetic engineering vs. those that aren’t.

In the meantime, "the USDA needs to sort the minutiae, stay in communication with stakeholders, and then implement the law. It’s on them to do so with the same bi-partisan spirit in which this law was created," Evolva concluded.