Food Companies Urge USDA to Implement ‘Meaningful’ GMO Disclosure Standards

For Immediate Release

September 14, 2017

Food Companies Urge USDA to Implement ‘Meaningful’ GMO Disclosure Standards

WASHINGTON – More than 25 food companies urged Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today to embrace the most comprehensive GMO disclosure standards possible, so every consumer can find out if their foods include genetically modified ingredients or have been produced using genetic engineering technologies.

In their letter to Secretary Perdue, the companies pushed the USDA to “create a meaningful disclosure standard for GMO foods that is based on Congress’ clear intent to cover all GMO foods and GMO technologies, is consistent with international standards and is inclusive of all Americans – including consumers without smartphones, rural residents and the elderly.”

“Consumers have the right to know what’s in their food and how it was produced,” said Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm and chairman of the Just Label It coalition, which includes more than 750 businesses and organizations. “Successful businesses recognize that consumers reward transparent companies and punish companies that make misleading claims. Rules implementing the new GMO law should trust consumers to make their own choices.”

“Applegate was built on a foundation of transparency, and that’s all consumers really want,” said Gina Asoudegan, senior director of mission. “People want – and deserve – to know what’s in their food and how it’s made so they can decide what’s best for themselves and their families. GMO labeling is the ultimate example of the free market at work: share the information and let the people decide.”

“Moms and dads deserve to know what is in the food they are feeding their children and themselves. Case closed,” said Founder, CEO and Chief Mom at Happy Family Brands Shazi Visram. “That’s why we support a strong GMO labeling law – so consumers can make informed decisions about what they put into their bodies.”

The companies, which include Stonyfield, Patagonia, Annie’s Homegrown, Amy’s Kitchen, Applegate and Ben & Jerry’s, among others, urged the USDA to:

  • Apply the GMO disclosure standard to all foods produced with genetic engineering, including highly refined sugars and oils, as well as foods produced with new forms of genetic engineering like CRISPR and RNAi.
  • Ensure that digital disclosures made using QR codes consistently scan every time and in all conditions, and that the digital disclosure is the first thing a customer sees when they scan a product.
  • Provide additional and comparable options at retailers so that consumers who don’t have smartphones or live in parts of the country without reliable cellular service can access the GMO disclosure information.
  • Ensure that the GMO disclosure standard avoids any conflict with existing organic standards and will not require any modifications to be made to the USDA organic regulations.
  • Finalize its GMO disclosure standard by July 28, 2018.

The full list of companies that signed the letter to Secretary Perdue include:

American Sustainable Business Council, Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Homegrown, Applegate, Ben & Jerry’s, Bhakti Chai, Boulder Food Group, Ciao Bella Gelato, DanoneWave, Frontier Co-op, Garden of Life, Global Organics, Hain Celestial, Happy Family, Harmless Harvest, Independent Natural Food Retailers Association, Kamut, Late July, Lundberg Family Farms, MegaFood, Nature’s Path, National Co-op Grocers, Patagonia, Presence Marketing, SeaSnax, Spicely Organics, Stonyfield, Traditional Medicinals, Uncle Matt’s, and United Natural Foods, Inc.

The letter sent to Secretary Perdue can be found here.

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