Editors note: With the Washington state genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling initiative headed for defeat, AHPA is working to create consensus for a federal standard for voluntary non-GMO labeling to inform consumers about the products they buy. In this FoodNavigator-USA article, AHPA President Michael McGuffin said that the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 serves as an effective model for GMO labeling. He noted that if OFPA had proposed a law that would require companies to list all the pesticides used on their ingredients, it would not have passed. Instead, OFPA instructed the USDA to establish a standard for voluntary disclosure of organic.
Timing right for federal standard on GMO: AHPA
With more than 85% of the votes in on Washington State's GMO labeling initiative 522 as of Thursday night, it appears that the Yes side has an insurmountable deficit to overcome, getting 47% of votes to the No side's 53%. (Due to the state's unique mail-in voting system, the outcome may not be clear until this weekend.) So what now?
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) says it's the right time to bring both sides in and agree on a federal standard for voluntary disclosure of GMOs.
"We have an opportunity right now while there is pain on one side and glee on the other to establish a pragmatic path forward," Michael McGuffin, president of AHPA, told FoodNavigator-USA. "I really believe if we could get federal legislation that instructs either the FDA or USDA to establish a standard for non-GMO labeling that would ensure the absence of GMO ingredients, what we would find is companies would want to participate. There's been a proliferation of GMO labeling that's already being marketed to the consumers who won't eat a product if there's GMOs in it. But there's less liability if they do so under a federal standard."