The best non-GMO label is still… the Butterfly

The new BE label doesn’t cover many GMOs

On January 1, 2022, a federal labeling law for bioengineered (BE) foods came into effect and, unfortunately, did not live up to our—or the public’s—expectations for transparency. 

In its current form, the law overlooks many products made from GMOs — which fails to meet consumer expectations and is insufficient. Meanwhile, labeling guidelines do not provide clear information to consumers about the food they are bringing home. 

All Labels are NOT Created Equally

The absence of a BE disclosure does not mean a product is non-GMO. The labeling program leaves out many products shoppers seek to avoid:

  • Many products made through new genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR and synthetic biology.
  • Highly refined products like sugar and cooking oil made from GMOs won’t require a BE label if there is no detectable modified genetic material in the final product.
  • Animal-derived products like dairy, meat and eggs are exempt from labeling, regardless of whether the cow, fish, pig or chicken was fed GMOs. (Most are.)
  • Some multi-ingredient prepared foods are exempt from BE disclosures even if they contain a significant amount of GMOs.

With these loopholes and exemptions, most GMOs will not require a BE label under the new law.

Also, the BE labeling law allows several options for how the Bioengineered disclosure appears on packaging: a symbol. a text disclosure, a phone number or text message statement, or a QR code. 

How can you truly trust that you are avoiding GMOs?  Always look for the Butterfly. This lack of consistency makes information less accessible to people in stores. Without clear and equally accessible labeling, the average shopper gets less information, compromising the very purpose of an effective labeling program. 

Your Choice Makes a Difference 

More shoppers than ever are looking for natural foods and non-GMO choices. That kind of collective action gets noticed — major food brands and retailers recognize that their customers are prioritizing a healthy, natural, and non-GMO food supply, and they’re changing their operations accordingly. 

Driven by individual choices at the grassroots level, collective action has spurred corporate action, catching the attention of some of the biggest boardrooms in the world. Even McDonald’s has opted for non-GMO ingredients in some of its latest and greatest products, including a new plant-based burger and their wildly popular french fries—both of which include non-GMO ingredients.  

Your support for the Butterfly is changing how retailers and restaurants choose what they carry — and that changes the food system. 

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