The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has requested that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) make it mandatory for companies to disclose refined ingredients from bio-engineered crops on food and beverage labelling.
The legal move would have big implications for how many products would be disclosed in future as GMA estimated that exclusion of refined ingredients means that around 78% fewer products are currently being declared.
GMA said: “Our ability to provide consumers with the information they seek – and in a way that they understand – will build trust in brands, industry and government institutions.
“The ease with which the final regulations enable full disclosure of information to consumers will either support or diminish our ability to engage in a dialogue with consumers about technologies that improve lives, society and the environment.”
Nestlé, Hershey, and Unilever have also expressed wishes to the USDA to make genetically modified ingredients clear on food and drink labelling. These include ingredients such as canola, soybean oils and beet sugar, and roughly 90% of these crops in the US are bio-engineered. This will impact on the substantial number of food and beverage products that contain these refined ingredients.
Nestlé spokeswoman Kate Shaw said: “Consumers want to know what is in their food and beverages and we believe that they deserve transparency. It’s at the core of our business.”
GMA went on to say that in order to provide a transparent standard to consumers, labels should disclose when the cumulative weight of bio-engineered ingredients makes up more than 0.9% of a finished food product.
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