USDA approves Non-GMO Project’s label claims

| June 21, 2013 |
CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons. CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons.

The following is an edited excerpt.

The Agriculture Department has approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that includes a claim about the absence of genetically engineered products.

It is the first time that the department, which regulates meat and poultry processing, has approved a non-G.M.O. label claim, which attests that meat certified by the Non-GMO Project came from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa.

The U.S.D.A. vetted the Non-GMO Project’s standards, requirements and auditing processes before giving its approval.

Read the full story here: U.S. Approves a Label for Meat From Animals Fed a Diet Free of Gene-Modified Products

Additional Resources:

This first-of-it’s-kind decision by the U.S. Agriculture Department is part of a string of GM-labeling legislative efforts. One of the first states to adopt — provisionally — a GM-labeling law was Connecticut:

A story about the fear and confusion that happened when a GM warning label showed up on Kraft macaroni and cheese in Britain:

  • Seth_C

    Am I missing something here? So animals who digest and incorporate
    amino-acids from proteins in their corn that are from other organisms…wait…ok, someone has to help me with this. Cows in the
    field eat proteins from hundreds (thousands?) of different organisms…from amoebas to bugs to myriad bacteria…right along with the various plants we think of as their diet. Why is not one worried about this dietary diversity but are worried about a single non-native protein in the feed?

    • Tom

      Nail. On. Head.

      • Seth_C

        So you and I agree…I was hoping for someone who could explain the opposite side…

        • Tom

          It’s not that proteins can’t be toxic (see for instance ricin, cholera toxin, botulinum toxin, diphtheria toxin), it’s that they have to be able to survive digestion and get to their site of action – if one exists. In the case of Bt, it also needs to be activated at alkaline pH through proteolytic cleavage, neither of which is possible in our digestive system. And we already have billions of bacterial cells in our gut containing proteins very similar to the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate (EPSP) synthase used in glyphosate-resistant varieties.

          Non-specific effects such as allergy can be an issue if the protein is resistant to degradation. That’s why the Aventis StarLink corn variety was never approved for human consumption – the protein digestion tests indicated that the Bt variant could possibly have allergenic potential simply because it was more resistant to digestion. It’s worth noting that no cases of allergy from the StarLink variety or any other Bt-containing crop have been reported. If a prospective transgene passes toxicity testing including testing how well it is digested, there is no reason to assume that it is more harmful than any other protein – as you so correctly pointed out.