DeLauro wants clearer labeling of organic food on GMOs

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who represents a part of Shelton, is calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service to clarify labeling for organic meat, poultry and egg products produced without genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

DeLauro led 18 other House members in asking U.S. Acting Undersecretary for Food Safety Brian Ronholm to reconsider proposed language that would be confusing to consumers. The House members favor allowing organic farmers to use the term “non-GMO” in their packaging, when appropriate.

‘Confusing for consumers’

“Current regulations do not allow companies to simply say that their products do not contain GMOs,” said DeLauro, a 12-term Democrat. “A proposed rule would instead require companies to state that USDA-certified organic products prohibit genetically engineered feed and ingredients, which ... is confusing for consumers.”

The House members told Ronholm in their letter, “For over a year, organic companies have submitted various iterations of labels for Food Safety Inspection Service approval, all of which have been rejected because of the term ‘non-GMO.’”

Truthful, easy-to-understand information

According to the letter, data “reveals that when shopping for organic products, parents are most likely to look for the term ‘organic’ (63%) on packaging labels. The next two terms most identified by organic consumers were ‘Non GMO’ (34%) and ‘Produced without GMOs’ (34%). Organic buyers are least familiar with ‘produced without biotechnology’ (20%) followed by ‘Non-GE’ (19%).

“Therefore,” the letter continues, “if the intent of labels is to provide consumers the truthful information that they seek and will understand, ‘non-GMO’ is clearly the appropriate term to use.”

Shelton has two members of Congress

The city of Shelton is divided between the Third Congressional District, represented by DeLauro, and the Fourth Congressional District, represented by fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.

DeLauro lives in New Haven and was first elected to Congress in 1990.