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USDA Makes GMOs Disappear

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Alliance for Natural Health USA

The Pulse of Natural Health Newsletter

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It’s official: the “mandatory” GMO labeling rule will obscure more than it makes transparent. Action Alert!

The USDA has released its final GMO labeling rule, and it’s not good. As we feared when the agency released its proposal earlier this year, the so-called GMO labeling law will apply only to a narrow set of foods. Congress and the USDA have offered a number of loopholes and exemptions to food companies, undermining any semblance of a consumer’s right to know. It’s as if the USDA asked the food industry to write the rule themselves.

The problems start right at the foundation. The agency has decided to use the term “bioengineered”—a term many Americans may not be familiar with—rather than GMO. When the proposal was released, we pointed out that this is straight out of an Orwellian playbook. Many Americans know the term “GMO” and can connect it to the labeling debate—so the government decides to use a different term that sounds more innocuous. If the government was actually concerned with communicating information clearly to consumers, they would simply use the term “GMO” and not other terminology with which Americans may not be familiar.

The problems continue with the definition of “bioengineered.” The final rule defines bioengineered as a food that 1) contains genetic material that has been modified through in vitro recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques and 2) for which the modification could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature”—essentially, combining DNA from two different sources, usually two different organisms.

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