What We Know About the New GMO Law? How will it affect Ranchers and Farmers?
In early August, former President Barack Obama signed a new law requiring the labeling of food that contains genetically modified organisms (“GMO”). It is estimated that 75-80% of food sold in the United States contains some type of GMO.
- We know the law had both bi-partisan support and bi-partisan opposition.
- We know the law preempts state labeling laws such as those passed by Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine.
- We know the law does not interfere with voluntary labels previously implemented by certain companies.
- We know the law does not affect restaurants.
- We know organic foods will not be labeled.
- We know that we will know a lot more in two years.
The law creates a framework for a disclosure law; however, the majority of the law and how it will affect ranchers and farmers is unknown. Under the law, the US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has two years to study and implement rules and regulations. The tasks assigned to the USDA include how products should be labeled, specifically: (a) allowing a brief description with a 1-800 number to call for more information; or (b) allowing the consumer to scan a bar code to obtain more information from the manufacturer’s website.
Most importantly, the USDA must determine the amount of bioengineered substance that may be present in food to be considered a bioengineered food. Once these regulations are promulgated, the supply chain will implement changes, tests, and reports necessary to comply; and that is when we will really know the effects of the new law.