FDA gets $3M to educate consumers on GMOs

Dive Brief:

  • The spending bill passed last week to keep the federal government running allocated $3 million to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a new campaign that will better educate consumers about foods produced with genetically modified organisms, according to Food Safety Magazine.
  • The campaign is being run in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Under this campaign, consumers will learn about the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic and humanitarian impacts of GMO products.

Dive Insight:

Some see this aspect of the deal as nothing more than a PR gimmick for companies that grow and use GMO ingredients and a pro-GMO agenda by the government.

But which food manufacturers use GMOs? Practically all of them. In the U.S, 86% of corn, 93% of soybean and 90% of cotton are genetically engineered, according to a report in Research Nester.

Many consumers don’t know much about GMOs — except that they are an important topic and worth being labeled. The NPD Group released a report last year that showed while most U.S. consumers are informed about GMOs and their benefits in food production, 76% are still reluctant to consume them.

After years of debate and state-specific legislation forcing national action, the federal government last year passed a law requiring that food manufacturers specifically disclose GMO ingredients on product labels. Regulations and designs for the new labels have not yet been determined, though the debate and controversy have increased awareness of the fact that they exist.

Numerous studies have shown that there is no nutritional difference between GMO and non-GMO crops — including testimony from FDA officials in 2014. From that angle, it makes sense for the federal government to educate the public about what GMO food truly is. It also makes sense from a consumer-protection angle. Many consumers pay premium prices for non-GMO and organic ingredients.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Grocery Corporate Food Safety Policy Sustainability
Top image credit: Wikimedia; Nobunaga24