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Ag organizations support GMO labeling

Ag organizations support GMO labeling

A new USDA rule states companies must label foods containing GMOs

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

U.S. farm groups are pleased with a USDA decision regarding labels on food containing GMOs.

On Thursday, ag secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The law, which Congress passed in 2016, directed the USDA to establish a national standard for labeling food that contains detectable amounts of bioengineered ingredients.

The rule goes into effect in January 2022.

The Agricultural Marketing Service released a list of 13 crops that must be identified as GMO if they are part of food items. The crops include corn, soybeans, sugarbeets and apples. The USDA could add more crops to the list.

Placing labels on foods containing GMOs gives farmers another opportunity to build trust with consumers and educate them about the benefits of GMOs, said Troy Knecht, president of South Dakota Corn Growers.

“As consumers get more educated, we gain some ground or can stand our ground in this area,” he told WNAX. “It’s scary to think about a future where people want our product, and trying to raise crops without these technologies, and what that would do for the price of food and the lack of food.”

Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association, agreed.

“Soybean farmers are pleased that USDA took the time to do this rule the right way,” he said in a statement. “We believe that it allows transparency for consumers…”

Sugarbeet producers also welcome the incoming GMO food labels.

Developing a clear set of labeling rules allows the U.S. to set the bar globally, said Scott Herndon, a member of the American Sugar Beet Growers Association.

“The United States is the global leader in developing growing biotech crops and so I think this sets a clear standard for the rest of the world to look at,” he told KUNC.

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