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.
This definition is preposterous and entirely inadequate to capture all the different techniques for genetically modifying food that are currently being used or are in development. Gene-editing using CRISPR is one example, where scientists manipulate an organism’s own DNA to silence certain genes or express otherwise silent genes. This technology does not look like it will be covered under the final rule because the USDA argues that gene editing produces results that could have been obtained through conventional breeding. For example, the USDA recently decided that a CRISPR-created non-browning mushroom did not have to be regulated, and following the USDA’s logic, the GMO labeling rule will not apply. That’s right: a genetically modified mushroom will not have to be labeled as GMO because the USDA thinks that the genetic change could be accomplished through normal means. A similar determination could be made regarding the Arctic Apple, a non-browning apple made through a technology called RNA interference (RNAi), a gene editing technique for blocking the expression of certain genes. There are other techniques, including TALENs and ZFNs, the products of which will likely not have to be labeled.
The issue is that these technologies are the future of agriculture, with some observers noting that “with new gene editing techniques, [GMOs] will no longer be necessary.” The USDA, taking cues from Congress, has written a labeling rule that applies exclusively to obsolete technology. The USDA’s definition of a GMO completely misses the point. Even if a particular change could have been brought about through traditional breeding, the fact that it was brought about through genetic modification in a laboratory means that consumers have a right to know, end of story.
It seems likely that this was the endgame all along. Remember that the food industry supported the legislation that underpins this rule. It isn’t hard to imagine that they were given assurances that the rule would do nothing to disrupt business as usual.
The problems don’t stop there. The rule establishes a threshold for the “inadvertent or technically unavoidable” presence of GMO material of up to five percent; foods that meet this criteria will not have to be labeled as bioengineered. What is galling here is that the USDA was considering three alternatives for this threshold, one of them being 0.9%, but chose the option most generous to industry. So, an ingredient in a food can have up to 5% of its weight be GMO if it is “unavoidable” or “inadvertent” and not have to identify that there is GMO material in the food. (Note: food containing any amount of a bioengineered substance that is not inadvertent or unintentional must be labeled.) The plain fact, once again, is that even if the presence of a small number of GMOs is “inadvertent or unavoidable,” consumers still have a right to know.
There is another way that the USDA has narrowed the foods that will have to carry GMO labeling. So-called “highly-refined foods” made from GMO crops—such as sugar from GMO sugarbeets or high fructose corn syrup from GMO corn—will not require a label. The USDA argues that the presence of GMOs cannot be detected in refined products. Once again, consumers have been sold out. Just because current testing techniques cannot detect GMO material in a finished product does not mean there is no modified genetic material in the food. The whole point of a GMO labeling law is to provide consumers with information, so those who wish to avoid GMO foods can easily do so. If refined foods made from GMO ingredients are exempted, the spirit of the law is undermined.
Finally, the USDA has altered the symbol that may be used by companies to communicate the presence of GMOs. Some early proposals looked like a smiling face. The symbol the USDA chose says “bioengineered” rather than GMO and depicts a field and a sun, which is intentionally deceptive. These are natural images used to communicate the presence of decidedly un-natural ingredients in a food. It’s as if the PR department at Bayer/Monsanto came up with it themselves!
If you think that your state can pass a stronger labeling law, think again. The law passed by Congress prevents states from instituting labeling laws that differ with the federal law.
This process has been a complete sham since the beginning, starting with the fact that food companies can label their food with scannable codes rather than plain language on the package. That’s right: a company can avoid putting a plain language GMO label on their food altogether and instead slap a scannable code which they know most people won’t scan anyway, and which requires the customer to have a smart phone handy. The rule to implement the law favors the food industry at every conceivable turn. This is the definition of cronyism: the US government catering to special interests rather than citizens.
Action Alert! Write to Congress and the USDA, telling them that this rule is an outrage and must be changed to better represent a consumer’s right to know. Please send your message immediately.
40 thoughts on “USDA Makes GMOs Disappear”
“It’s as if the USDA asked the food industry to write the rule themselves.”
I don’t suppose they even had to ask them!
It’s sort of like if you leave the door to your chicken coop open. Let the chicks rule themselves.
Industry has been writing the rules for decades. You should follow your own county and state rule making. Big money talks.
[“If you think that your state can pass a stronger labeling law, think
again. The law passed by Congress prevents states from instituting
labeling laws that differ with the federal law.”] Nonsense. What about “nullification”? As Jefferson and even Federalist supporters of the Constitution at the Virginia ratifying convention of 1788 assured Virginians that they would be “exonerated” should the federal government attempt to
impose “any supplementary condition” upon them. “Nullification…is the rightful remedy” when the federal government reaches beyond its constitutional powers. Are we men and women or are we sheep?
According to Steven Drucker’s book:” ALtered genes, Twisted Truth:
Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science,
Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public”. GMO’s were illegal from their very begin. There is no GRAS principle without scientific research proving it first. Making it out of thin air is a CRIME, for which everyone involved, should be prosecuted in Nuernberg style process.
Any GMO ‘law’ related to its existence, is a Crime since it allows it to flourish. And crime like that should be eliminated, including every law involved with it..
In the age of corporate ownership of governments , regulations will be eliminated until a new regime is allowed to force change. With corporate ownership of the news media which informs the voters, and Conservative manipulation of the vote, the likelihood of change is challenging to put it lightly.
With the US EPA now evaporated, and the US FDA, USDA filled with industry lobbyists, it will be quite the fight to protect the air, water, food, environment.
Your action link does not recognize Canadian postal codes. Please fix thanks
The only country in the world that allows a full menu of GMO foods! Why? Lobbyists? Now, there are pix starting to come across my desk that show malformed babies in our Kingdom as well as the lower Kingdom of animals…
I think it’s called Eugenics! To many people pose a threat to the Elite, especially when they know what is happening.
I like your handle!!!!!
Did any of you see the video where Trump says, “no natural foods in 2020 and if caught a fine/maybe jail? That means … WOW, millions pounds of beef, where is it going; no personal gardens…this is the Agenda for the NWO of which the Catholic Church, CFR, etc. Eat paper made lettuce from China? Well, you decide what this questionable person is up to…I do not trust him one bit with our lives and health.
Very disturbing, Buzz. Please send a link!
USDA Makes GMOs Disappear
It’s official: the “mandatory” GMO labeling rule will obscure more than it makes transparent.
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Now this is a little misleading; as you read it, think this out….it is not good.
I am trying to locate this; I saw it and sent it around; however, most I email with did not find it interesting or important; this was on the net about three weeks ago; in SEARCH….that video has been pulled…I am trying to see if any of my email “friends,” still have it.
I have not seen this video. Please send a link!
This is not true and it is idiotic. So relax and don’t hyperventilate. But you need to worry about glyphosate in almost everything – not President Trump.
Was it not…..truman…..that said something like this……THE BUCK STOPS HERE……trump put the heads of these departments in place and then it seems he does not keep a check on them, as he should…..Remember a gov agency call the …..va…..what has been corrected their?. Not much it seems. For awhile it was a big deal to clean it up, but then other news came along and the clean up seemed to go away. So yes trump is the one in charge and the one to see it is cleaned up.
This sounds like fake news to me about Trump, but this could be part of Agenda 21 or Agenda 2030.
Not Eugenics; mass murder. The #NWO and their allied organization want to lower the human population to less than one million. They are doing this now through 5G, chemtrails, flouride in the water, microwaves, geonengineering, mass third world immigration, vaccines, and more.
We should demand that the whole lot of the FDA step down and forgo their fat pensions. Let them go over to Monsanto. Traitors they are. Criminals they are. Their job is to protect the citizens not make sure the companies are able to sell their poisonous “food”.
NotAlways, that is exactly what they already do. In many of these agencies. Revolving door exists for many years – already – between the regulatory agencies, and those they regulate. Are we to think that they sever their contacts with drug companies, pesticide producing companies, and others, the day they sit at their new desk, this time in the sheep’s clothing of a regulator ? Get rid of the agency, we all will not even notice.
Yes, these traitors should all be fired and the agency disbanded. Why waste more taxpayers’ money? We are already subsidizing business.
For those of us who eat organic this is going to be tough. What is left to eat that hasn’t been tainted?
If you add to it all the ongoing geoengineerinig, then soon there will not be anything left to eat anymore. The artificial GMO food is just an introduction to the full spectrum dominance, as Elana Freeland calls it in her book…
I don’t think we can get a foothold on controlling our ingesting foods full of poisons covered up by clever labeling. We consumers know we are eating altered and tainted foods from the vegetables to the meat. We also know humans have to eat. If the food industry has no concern about killing us, can they at least be transparent in letting us clearly know what’s killing us as we eat? Altered foods seem to have the same end effect. Rampant and numerous spreading of old and new cancers from which most of us will die from some form of.
I’m still curious as to why we don’t all eat organic.
Yes, of course. But the traitors are at the top and are appointed by the President and if there are regular hires who are problems it is the appointees that hire them.
Build A Wall Around The USDA which is working as an Agent of EVIL!
I’d say why not DISMANTLE the agency that gets double income – one from Lobbyists and one from taxpayers ? Would anyone even notice ? It would save some serious money if we simply shut them down.Similar agencies do a good job in most civilized countries. Not the USDA.
Even Russia does not allow GMO, why do we , the seemingly amazing nation, allow this wretched agency, as well as the FDA to mess viciously with OUR food ?
because the food CHANGED already everyone enough, not to care any more!
I start my day, like most people, with a cup of coffee. It probably contain glyphosate, because most coffee trees are sprayed. Then a cereal? Corn flakes, no, it’s GMO and contains glyphosate. How about Cheerios? Nope. I phoned them and they said yep their oats contain glyphosate, but only the amount allowed by law.
Then for lunch. A burger sounds good, but the bun, being GMO wheat contains glyphosate, and the meat contains antibodies to counter the GMO corn they are fed, and the growth hormones to pile on weight.
Dinner? Can’t eat meat because all the animals are fed chemicals to keep them healthy and big. Salad? It’s all sprayed. Potatoes and carrots, being grown underground should be glyphosate free. No, glyphosate is there.
What will industry do after they have killed us all – except those of us who eat 100% organic. We will merely be ill from overspray and accidents and last a little longer.. Recent glyphosate teasing revealed that 64% of the organic honey tested contained glyphosate. Bees go where they will.
Now our government wants to play games by hiding the poison instead of keeping it out of our food. Or at the very least requiring honest labeling. But no, Monsanto is too powerful and congress has no grit to resist campaign donations. (If Monsanto sues me for having an opinion, my lawyers will file for a complete list of their donations)
My beautiful young wife died of massive cancers everywhere including her thigh bones – the marrow bones. Now I have cancer in my marrow bones. It’s called Waldenstrom’s disease. There is no cure. Recent research in Switzerland proved that lab animals fed glyphosate develop cancer in their marrow bones.
I am so very sorry, Paul. 🙁
Yet, we all will be experiencing these deadly diseases soon. We all have to eat, drink, and breathe..the glyphosate
Paul, 100% raw organic vegan, that way we can last a little longer. We still have to take care of our psychology, which can undermine all of our good food efforts. read the book “Born Anxious” by Daniel Keating.
Thanks I’ll check it out.
So why not eat 100% organic? Many do.
All the techniques you mentioned is clearly GMO.
USDA is on the side of huge food corporations. So it is useless to us. We must find and fund our own testing agencies to warn people of this specious crap.
Your take action page wouldn’t let me send my letter because I didn’t have the extra 4 digits for the zip code. Not good.
We have never even had labelling in Australia for GMO foods to my knowledge – nothing in fresh vegetables/fruit in Supermarkets.
ANH -USA, state use Tweet/Facebook to make a comment, yet these sites are not what can be described as ethical, and I REFUSE to be forced into this herd mentality and make money for these Internet sites. PLEASE remove them. ANH-UK no problem.
The so called……usda……is most likely full of ex members of the ….gmo….companies. They have either worked for them or upon leaving the….usda……get a good job as thanks for the crap they allow these companies to stick us with. And sorry to say but it seems …….trump……or those in his administration are doing nothing to stop this crap. They could not do this if the head of these departments ( that trump recommended) were not involved in these actions. Sorry I voted for him…..but sorry to say he is not doing a good job cleaning up the swamp/fed agencies that need a major overhall.
Bottom line we do not want f-ing Mad Scientists and eugenicist satanist politicians playing god with our food!
Salk made polio disappear through creative writting and rewriting of definitions and study results.
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