Editor's Note: AHPA's Michael McGuffin and Jane Wilson promote voluntary disclosure of absence as a pragmatic approach to labeling products with GMOs. AHPA has been working since July 2007 to find a workable system for the labeling of products with GMOs and looks to organic labeling as a practical model for GMO labeling.
Natural Products INSIDER
GMO labeling: What we can learn from organic labeling
Washington state voters rejected Initiative Measure Number 522 on Nov. 5, which would have required food labels-presumably including dietary supplement labels-to disclose any ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants or animals (also referred to as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs).
Washington's vote closely mirrors the vote last year in California on a similar initiative, Proposition 37, which was defeated by a similar margin. Both initiatives enjoyed early voter support, attracted millions of dollars in spending by both sides, and ultimately failed.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has been working since July 2007 to find a practical solution for the labeling of products with GMOs and expressed formal support in 2007 for labeling these products. Following the California vote in 2013, AHPA promoted the creation of a federal safe harbor for accurately labeling foods and supplements with the presence or absence of genetically engineered ingredients.
AHPA continues to promote consumers' right to be informed when GMOs are in the foods they choose, and federal legislation that creates a standard for voluntary disclosure of absence of GMOs seems to be the most pragmatic approach. The labeling of organic products provides a good example of how this could work.