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FMI updates stance on GMO labeling

FMI's board has adopted an updated GMO policy statement that aims to clarify its position and help to steer the government and industry in a direction to standardize efforts and reduce confusion.

The new strategy was outlined at FMI Midwinter by Fred Morganthall, the association's current chairman, who is president and COO, Harris Teeter.

FMI is calling for establishment of one national standard for non-GMO food products. The association contends that any GMO labeling program should focus on providing consumers the ability to clearly identify those products that are not genetically modified.


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The policy asserts the focus should be on "avoiding the inconsistent and confusing pitfalls of a state by state patchwork GMO labeling system that will get created if we continue down the road we’re on — by calling for this national standard to be established under the purview of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)."

"This policy allows FMI to go down a number of avenues in pursuing solutions to the consumer request for non-GMO labeling," Morganthall said.

Turning to the issue of food product dating, which has been a source of confusion to consumers, Morganthall said the FMI board appointed a cross-disciplinary  task force to delve more deeply into the topic. 

Read more: Industry Well Positioned to Navigate Change: Sarasin

The title of a recent report, “The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America, “published by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, succinctly summarizes the concerns with current date labeling programs, he said. In short, consumers are throwing away viable food products because they misunderstand, misconstrue or are simply befuddled by the inconsistent language used with food date labels, he explained, he added.

The appointed task force has been commissioned to come back to the June board meeting with a proposed policy statement that provides industry guidance in addressing this concern, Morganthall said.

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