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Petition to Prohibit Non-GMO Label Claims


An advocacy organization the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has filed a petition with the U.S. FDA to prohibit the use of specific labeling on consumer foods and goods indicating that products are derived from non-GMO ingredients.


The Foundation claims that the butterfly logo franchised by the Non-GMO Project represents a false and misleading implication that conventional products are in some way healthier than GMO or bioengineered products.  Dr. Val Giddings, senior fellow at the Foundation stated, “The Non-GMO Project Butterfly Campaign deceives consumers through false and misleading claims about foods, food ingredients, and their health and safety characteristics.  She added, “The campaign constitutes misbranding under the law, and the FDA should act in the best interest of consumers and protect them, as the law demands, against the confusion spread by these false claims.”


In support of the petition, the Foundation cites the National Academy of Sciences and other scientific organizations that have found no deleterious effects from consumption of ingredients and food derived from GMO technology.  The Foundation also points out that the Non-GMO Project butterfly logo is applied to many products for which there are no bioengineered counterparts.


It is anticipated that the Non-GMO Project which has benefited financially from selling their logo will contest the petition since it strikes at the heart of their business which is based on a foundation of unfounded fear and anxiety.


The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 introduced by Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) was reintroduced into the House of Representatives and allows for voluntary labeling as to GMO content.  The Bill had the support of the Grocery Manufacturers Association which led to disaffection by a number of member companies favoring “fresh and natural” including Campbell Soup Company under the leadership of now displaced CEO Denise Morrison.  The Bill was also supported by many commodity groups including the American Soybean Association and the International Dairy Foods Association.


Opposition to the petition and presumably to the current FDA petition will be based on the canard of the “public right to know”.