The Agriculture Department has developed the first government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.
USDA’s move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Certification would be voluntary – and companies would have to pay for it. If approved, the foods would be able to carry a “USDA Process Verified” label along with a claim that they are free of GMOs.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined the department’s plan in a May 1 letter to employees, saying the certification was being done at the request of a “leading global company,” which he did not identify. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
Right now, there are no government labels that certify a food as GMO-free. Many companies use a private label developed by a nonprofit called the Non-GMO Project.