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Trump’s USDA May Hide GMOs in 10,000 Foods, Use Confusing Jargon on Labels

EWG: Consumers Need Plain Disclosure Language, Law Must Cover All GMO Foods
Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

WASHINGTON – Under the guise of “transparency,” the Trump administration’s proposed GMO disclosure rule may in fact codify secrecy and confusing labels for genetically modified foods, said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs.

The Department of Agriculture’s draft disclosure rule could exempt 10,000 foods that contain highly refined GMO sugars and oils. With that loophole, roughly one in six foods produced with GMOs might be exempt from disclosure.

The rule would make on-package labeling of GMOs optional, and if companies did choose to disclose GMOs on labels, they could use language and symbols likely to confuse consumers.  

Instead of the widely understood terms “genetically modified” or “genetically engineered,” the rule would require companies to use the terms “bioengineered” or “bioengineered food ingredient.”

Finally, companies could choose not to label GMOs on the package, but instead use digital codes that consumers can scan with smartphones – without providing alternatives for shoppers who don’t own smartphones or who have lousy cell service.

Today is the deadline for public comments on the Trump administration’s proposed GMO rule. To date, more than 11,300 people and organizations have submitted comments, including EWG. Consumers can submit comments at www.regulations.gov.

“Access to information about GMO foods should be available to all consumers, and every food made with GMO ingredients should be required to disclose that information,” Faber said. “The Trump administration and some Big Food and Big Ag lobbyists may not want consumers to know if the food they eat has been genetically altered by scientists, but the American people overwhelmingly do.”

“Trump once attacked President Obama as the least transparent President ever, but this proposed rule would bury basic information about the food Americans feed their families in a quagmire of secrecy and confusion,” Faber added.