As reported by this blog, many consumers are beginning to demand more clarity when it comes to what's in their food. This is especially true over the growing issue of genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GM) foods. One advocacy group in California has taken the lead in demanding a more consumer friendly approach to food labels.
According to NPR, California's Right to Know's – a major consumer advocacy group – mandates that any food that has been genetically engineered or processed in any way can not be labeled "natural." Furthermore, any food that may have been partially or wholly genetically modified should also be labeled as such.
This may be a hard task to accomplish considering the Food and Drug Administration has been keeping the definition of the term "natural" in the dark for years now. According to Foodnavigator – another consumer advocacy food group – the FDA has stipulated that it has "other priorities for its limited resources" rather than defining natural.
The lack of definition is coupled with an increase in consumer demand for natural foods. This has caused many companies and food retailers to spread the word on a label, regardless of their stance on natural foods and whether their product was genetically modified or not.
But, while roughly 90 percent of American consumers demand GE foods to have labels, nearly 40 countries around the world require labels for genetically modified foods already. The FDA has held a firm stance against the labeling initiative since 2009, saying that modified food is basically the same as any other food and, therefore, contains no safety risk for consumers.
While demand for clarity with food labels remains at an all-time high, farmers and retailers looking to supply this may want to invest in the printing of custom labels for their products that provide the information consumers need to feel confident in their decisions.