Federal Judge Tells FDA to Decide if Genetically Modified Foods are “Natural”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been asked by a federal judge to determine whether food manufacturers can label foods as “natural” even if they include genetically modified ingredients.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers’ decision (pdf) to involve the FDA came in the lawsuit against Gruma Corp., which sells tortillas, guacamole and other products under the brand name Mission.
Lead plaintiff Elizabeth Cox sued the company in San Francisco, arguing that the defendant had no right to claim its products are “all natural” when they contain corn grown from bioengineered seeds.
Rogers wrote that the FDA has no rules “requiring that products containing [genetically-modified organisms] or bioengineered ingredients be labeled as such. The FDA has issued nonbinding industry guidance indicating that it ‘is not aware of any data or other information that would form a basis for concluding that the fact that a food or its ingredients was produced using bioengineering is a material fact that must be disclosed.’”
In addition, the judge agreed with the plaintiff that there is a “gaping hole” in federal rules regarding “natural” claims and GMOs. But, Rogers said, there is no direct regulation by the FDA on the term and no requirement that a company disclose on labeling whether GMOs are included.
To Learn More:
FDA Must Say if Labels Can Call GMOs 'Natural' (by David Lee, Courthouse News Service)
Court Ruling: Elizabeth Cox vs. Gruma Corporation, et al. (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California) (pdf)
Can Food with Genetically Modified Ingredients be Sold as “Natural”? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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