In a previous blog post, we detailed the regulation for the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and bioengineered (BE) foods under the new National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) in the United States. You may think that the terms of the law are black and white – if a GMO is present in your product, you need to declare its presence on your food label under new regulations. However, as with most things in life, there is a distinct grey area. To uncomplicate the regulations, we put together a guide to understanding the GMO labeling guidelines and the exemptions that may apply to your products. Continue Reading

Over the last 30 years, the debate over bioengineered foods – specifically, the boom in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has grown from a quiet dialogue to a wide-spread, boisterous debate. Most recently, issues around disclosure and forthcoming U.S. regulations have taken center stage.

In order to leverage burgeoning new markets in what I call the “progressive food movement,” an increasing number of companies are accessorizing their food labels with new non-GMO claims. Now, a new federal law, called the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), will require food manufacturers to disclose the use of GMO ingredients in their products. Of course, the current draft of the regulations can be a bit confusing, often vague and have wide-ranging implications that vary from business to business. Continue Reading

My previous post, “How Reliable is Your Supplier’s Non-GMO ‘Verified’ Claim?” raised the question of whether incorrect, unsubstantiated or fraudulent non-Genetically Modified Organism (non-GMO) claims would result in a recall, FDA warning or some other sanction. The answer is found in a greater discussion about accountability and liability within the food industry.

With summer fast approaching, let’s think of this in terms of a carnival metaphor. There’s potential for food manufacturers to get caught up in a non-GMO verification “shell game.” You might know the classic shell game, in which a pea is placed underneath three shells and then they are shuffled around to confuse the player. At the end, the player needs to guess which shell the pea is under. As you monitor your supply chain, “verified” non-GMO certificates from suppliers may be shuffled around in your supply chain and you may lose sight of the “pea,” or an ingredient that is not up to specification. Come one, come all – step on up and find the hot sample. Continue Reading

Food industry associations and consumer advocacy groups have influenced the development of many key U.S. food policies and regulations, but the impact of consumer lawsuits upon the regulatory process cannot be denied. Since 2008, the number of class action lawsuits filed against food and beverage companies has increased from approximately twenty to more than a hundred lawsuits annually in recent years. While some of the legal challenges could be dismissed as frivolous, several cases have fueled the evolution of significant labeling and safety regulatory initiatives that are now under consideration by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).    Continue Reading

I’ll be honest – from time to time, I enjoy throwing on my teal yoga pants and visiting my favorite organic supermarket. I love perusing the endless rows of organic and otherwise non-Genetically Modified Organism (non-GMO) products adorning shelf upon shelf. With all of those “verified” and “certified” products smiling down at me, how can I not smile back? After all, like many shoppers, I place my trust in progressive statements on food labels, such as “Organic,” “non-GMO,” “Fair Trade,” “Hormone-Free,” “Allergen-Free,” and the list goes on. Before I leave the store, my cart is adorned with at least three or four items bearing one of these claims. Continue Reading