Food Safety Magazine – In late July, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that will put in place a federal standard for the labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The new law now requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to devise a universal standard for GMO labeling.
To move forward with the bill, which is expected to take at least a couple years to fully plan and implement, the USDA originally planned on utilizing two studies to help them devise mandatory disclosure requirements (ie. fine print) on food products with GMO labels. One study was meant to identify technological challenges that might negatively affect consumers’ sense of reliability when it comes to digitally scanning or otherwise accessing GMO details on food packages. The second study was aimed at figuring out whether or not consumers are even likely to use electronic or digital means to access GMO details and digital disclosures from package labels.
Now, in the USDA’s solicitation for proposals from vendors interested in conducting the study, the agency has made no mention of the consumer use study. This omission was based on comments received during an initial "Request for Proposal" period. Although the USDA does not cite this as a contributing factor, the agency did face some backlash about the consumer use study from groups who claimed it had nothing to do with what the GMO labeling law intends to accomplish
Vendor proposals for the study on GMO labeling and related technological challenges are due on November 22, 2016.