FDA backing new nutritional labeling but not labeling of GMOs

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: FDA, nutritional labeling, GMOs

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(NaturalNews) The Food and Drug Administration is set to update its ingredient labeling mandates for the first time since they were introduced, but a read-through of the agency's proposals reveals nothing about requiring labeling of GMO foods.

The FDA is proposing to update Nutrition Facts labeling for packaged foods "to reflect new public health and scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease," reported Mondaq, an information and news aggregator.

The nutritional labeling standards were first imposed 20 years ago and were intended to help consumers make informed choices regarding food selection, to help maintain healthy dietary practices.

More information is always good, but it's not enough

According to the agency, here are some of the changes and updates being recommended:

-- Require food makers to include more information about "added sugars." As Natural News has reported, sugar is as addictive as many dangerous drugs. Additionally, increased sugar intake is responsible for a number of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

(Read: How to fight your sugar cravings:

-- Update the daily values of nutrients like dietary fiber and vitamin D. The FDA uses these values to calculate the "Percent Daily Value" amounts that are listed on labels. The agency additionally utilizes these to "help consumers understand the nutrition information in the context of a total daily diet," reports Mondaq.

(Read: The top 10 health benefits of fiber:

-- Mandate that food makers declare the amount of potassium and vitamin D on their labeling, because they represent new "nutrients of public health significance." Amounts of calcium and iron will continue to be required; vitamins A and C could be included on a voluntary basis.

(Read: What roles are played in the immune system by "smart" vitamin A?

-- Manufacturers would still be required to put "Total Fat," "Saturated Fat" and "Trans Fat" amounts on labels, but "Calories from Fat" would be removed.

(Read: The big "fat" lie and its impact on health:

The FDA's proposed labeling changes also include updating serving size requirements and new requirements for certain packaging sizes. And the labels themselves would have to be redesigned to make them more prominent.

As noted by Mondaq:

The proposed updates reflect new dietary recommendations, consensus reports, and national survey data, such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrient intake recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The FDA also considered extensive input and comments from a wide range of stakeholders.

The changes would affect all packaged foods; certain meats, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, would be exempted.

(Read: Real eggs, not egg "products," are good sources of protein, minerals and carotenoids:

In addition, the FDA is proposing corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary products, including changes to the Daily Values and the units of measurement.

GMO labeling, however, is not included in the FDA's newest labeling proposals.

Since before 1992, FDA has avoided GMO labeling requirements

As far back as 2001, the FDA issued guidance on voluntary labeling of "bioengineered" foods, which built upon the agency's 1992 "Statement of Policy" stemming from "Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties."

"Although the 1992 policy does not require special labeling for bioengineered foods, the agency advised in that policy that labeling requirements that apply to foods in general also apply to foods produced using biotechnology," the 2001 guidance stated.

Fast forward to 2013; for the FDA, nothing has changed:

Many consumers are interested in knowing whether the food they serve their families is produced using genetic engineering. Food manufacturers may indicate through voluntary labeling whether foods have or have not been developed through genetic engineering, provided that such labeling is truthful and not misleading.

FDA supports such voluntary labeling and has issued draft guidance on this labeling to the food manufacturing industry.

The statement, posted on the FDA's website, contained a link to the agency's 2001 guidance, which, of course, referenced its 1992 "Statement of Policy."

The agency says it sees no reason to require labeling, since it "regulates food from GE crops in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

More and more Americans, however, want GM foods to be labeled as well.


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