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Expo West Round Up - Trends, Awards, and Non-GMO

Over 2,700 companies exhibited at this year’s Natural Products Expo West. CCOF-certified members were well represented. For instance, on the main floor you could start the morning off with some tea from Traditional Medicinals, wander over to the Lundberg booth for rice cakes, stop at Straus for some cheese to put on that rice cake, wash everything down with a new yerba mate drink from Guayaki, and finish up with one of the new flavors of Three Twins ice cream. Those were just the companies close to the CCOF booth!

Federal GMO Labeling Bill Introduced

Last week Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan introduced a federal GMO labeling bill. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) worked closely on the bill and released a statement outlining its position in support.

CCOF has not taken a position on the bill, and we are monitoring its progress closely.

Federal GMO Labeling Bill Sparks Controversy, Passes Senate

By a 63-30 bipartisan vote, the United States Senate approved a federal GMO labeling bill introduced in June by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Roberts and Stabenow have been publicly working on the terms of the bill since early this year in response to a federal bill that would have prohibited mandatory labeling and Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling requirements that took effect July 1 (with a six-month grace period).

GMO Labeling Bill Signed into Law

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed the GMO labeling bill into law. The president’s signature comes after the Senate passed the bill in a 63-30 vote, and the House passed it in a 306-117 vote. The new law will require mandatory labeling of GMOs on certain product labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now begin formulating regulations to implement the law. 

GMO Labeling of Organic Products Takes a Step Forward

For years, the Organic Trade Association has supported efforts to bring federal mandatory GMO labeling to the United States. Senators Roberts and Stabenow have introduced a federal labeling bill that not only requires disclosure of GMO ingredients, but also includes important provisions that are excellent for organic farmers and food makers – and for the millions of consumers who choose organic every day - because they recognize, unequivocally, that USDA Certified Organic products qualify for non-GMO claims in the market place.

Non-GMO Label Allowed for Organic Meat and Poultry Products

The federal agency in charge of the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products recently implemented a procedure that allows labels for certified organic meat and poultry products to include a “Non-Genetically Engineered” statement.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)—a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—unveiled a 3-step procedure for the labels earlier this year.

Preventing GMO Presence in Organic Products

In an environment where Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their derivatives are widely distributed throughout the food chain, it is imperative that organic producers and handlers have strategies and plans to keep them out. A key tenet of "coexistence" is shared responsibility for the exclusion of the methods and products of genetic engineering.

Your Chance to Comment on Coexistence

The deadline for comment has been extended to May 11, 2015.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting comments on a set of proposed activities to reduce the impacts of the unintended presence of genetically modified (GM) genes in organic and other non-GM crops.


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