What is glaringly missing on FDA’s new food label?

2014 Food Label

2014 Food Label

by Catherine Haug, March 2014

By now you’ve probably heard about the proposed new FDA food label that emphasizes calories and added sugars. That’s all well and good, I suppose, but there is something that should be on the label that is not there.

The current food label can be confusing, I’ll admit. For example:

  • If the label says 2 grams sugar, is that added sugar, or does it include sugars naturally in the food?
  • One assumes that a single TV dinner contains 1 serving, right? But the label might actually state it contains 2.5 servings. What’s up with that?

The FDA hopes to clear up some of that confusion with the proposed new label as pictured, right (from First Look: The FDA’s Nutrition Label Gets A Makeover).

But something is definitely missing. Can you think what it is? Read on to find out, and what you can do about it.



What’s missing on the new FDA food label

Ta da…..

GMO content.

(Image, right, from Organic Consumers Association, used with permission)

Yep, the new label doesn’t give you any information about GMOs that could be in the food. You have to read the ingredients list and know how to translate that, to guess at whether or not the product contains GMOs.

For example, it might say ‘modified food starch.’ Sounds tame enough, right? Wrong. Modified food starch is made from corn – GMO corn. And even after processing it contains the DNA of that GMO vegetable.

Another example, salad dressings that contain ‘canola oil.’ That’s good for you, right? Wrong. Nearly all canola raised in the USA – and right here in the Flathead – is GMO canola.

In fact, any food that contains corn, soy and/or canola products is likely GMO unless is specifically says Organic, and even that can be suspect if the food comes from another country like China.

What can you do about this?

When it comes to the proposed food label, you can send your comments to the FDA. See their ‘Contact’ page: FDA.gov: Contact. Or write to our First Lady, Michelle Obama; see Contact the White House.

Until GMOs are labeled, print out a copy of the Non-GMO Shopping Guide (pdf) to carry with you when you shop.

Check out the website for the Institute for Responsible Technology. There is LOTS of good information there to learn more about GMOs and what you can do about them.

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