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With its New GMO-Labeling Rule, the USDA Has Completely Failed the American Consumer

Based on what we have seen from the current administration’s USDA — the scrapping of the organic animal welfare rules, allowing hydroponics in organic even though it is a complete violation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and turning a blind eye to ‘organic factory farms’ – should anyone be the least bit surprised that the recently released GMO-labeling rules completely fail the American consumer?

Officially announced right before Christmas, key aspects of the new GMO-labeling rules – also known as the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard – include the following:

– Instead of requiring companies to use the on-package labels “Made with GMOs” or “Made with Genetic Engineering”, which would make it easy for consumers, the USDA has done the polar opposite.

Not only are companies not required to use on-package labels, but they can use QR codes instead. As the Center for Food Safety has long argued, QR codes are inherently discriminatory to the elderly, poor, rural and minorities.

And if companies do use an on-package label, it must use the phrase “bioengineered food,” a term not commonly used or understood by consumers.

-Many GMO foods were exempted from the disclosure rules, including highly refined oils and many soft drinks, on the grounds that they don’t contain detectable DNA. Consumers want to know if ingredients are from GMO-sources, regardless of the DNA detectability.

What makes this specific exemption even more ridiculous is that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (the lobbying group which represents Big Food) argued that these refined oils and ingredients should be disclosed “in order to give consumers the transparency that they demand.”

The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance – comprised of Mars, Danone, Unilever and Nestle– criticized this exemption as well and said that “the standards fall short of consumer expectations.”

– If an on-package symbol is to be used, it must be the symbol below.

The yellow sun, blue sky and green grass will mislead consumers into thinking that bioengineered food is healthy — when it is not!

– The GMO-labeling rules do not have to go into effect until 2022, which keeps consumers in the dark for another few more years.

– The law allows USDA certified organic products to use the claim “Non-GMO”.

As I wrote about it 2016, this is incredibly problematic. Why?

If organic products are found to have very high levels of GMO-contamination and these products contain the label “Non-GMO” on the outside of the packaging (now allowed because of this new GMO-labeling rule), this may cause irreparable harm to the integrity of the organic seal.

IN CONCLUSION

Without question, these GMO-labeling rules have prioritized the interests of major GMO seed and chemical companies at the complete expense of shoppers.

Leading consumer advocates agree.

Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, said, “The USDA has betrayed the public trust by denying Americans the right to know how their food is produced. Instead of providing clarity and transparency, they have created large-scale confusion and uncertainty for consumers, food producers, and retailers.”

“The USDA’s new disclosure rule will likely keep many consumers in the dark about whether the food they buy has been genetically engineered,” said Michael Hansen, PhD, Senior Staff Scientist at Consumer Reports. “The overwhelming majority of consumers want genetically engineered food to be clearly labeled, but this rule fails to give consumers the information they deserve.”

What to do?

Look for USDA certified organic foods first and then look for products that contain the Non-GMO Project seal.

In the case of GMO-labeling, there is no other way to put it — our government has failed the American consumer. As a result, every citizen must take extra precaution to make sure that the food that he or she is eating is not genetically-modified.

A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

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Living Maxwell

Company Stories

Uber-Successful Foodstirs is Making an Impact Far Away from the Baking Aisle

Within the last 12 months, organic baking start-up Foodstirs has quickly and firmly established itself as one of the hottest brands in the industry today.

While it is undeniable that having a Hollywood celebrity as a co-founder has helped attract tremendous media attention and opened many doors, Foodstirs is leading the marketplace because it has delivered a top-notch product line to a category that was ripe for innovation. With proven entrepreneur Galit Laibow as CEO, long-time industry veteran and brand-building guru Greg Fleishman as COO, and marketing standout Sarah Michelle Gellar as Chief Creative Officer, the company’s intentions were clear from the very beginning.

“Foodstirs is about the power of baking, and we wanted to help create an experience that allows families to connect with each other in an easy and convenient way. Our product is empowering them to do this,” said Greg Fleishman.

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A message from E3Live

"My Everyday, Must-Have Green Organic Aquabotanical"

The best testimonial that I can give is that I drink this every single day, as it impacts my mood in an incredibly positive way.

E3Live + BrainON is certified organic, fresh-frozen AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) with a concentrated, aqueous, organic extract of Phenylethylamine and Phycocyanin.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Company Stories

ECOrenaissance by Organic Industry Pioneer Marci Zaroff is a Very Inspirational Read

When it comes to the organic textile business, serial entrepreneur Marci Zaroff is a true visionary — and I do not use this word lightly.

In 1995, Marci Zaroff coined and trademarked the termECOfashion® and launched Under the Canopy, which pioneered the market for organic and sustainable apparel and home textiles. Additionally, she helped create the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Most recently, Marci Zaroff founded and is the CEO of MetaWear, the first “sustainable style” GOTS and Cradle to Cradle Certified cut and sew manufacturer in the world for organic and eco-friendly apparel. In addition to that, she is the founder of Farm to Home, producer of THREAD / Driving Fashion Forward, and co-founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Good Catch Foods and BeyondsBrands.

This organic trailblazer just launched her first book called ECOrenaissance: A Lifestyle Guide for Cocreating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable World, and I caught up with my good friend to speak with her about it.

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