by Gina-Marie Cheeseman on Monday, Nov 28th, 2016 CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
The National Organic Standards Board voted unanimously last week to update its U.S. standards to ban ingredients derived from new genetic engineering techniques from certified organic products.
The vote served as a recommendation by the NOSB to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. The board says it will ensure ingredients that are derived from new GE techniques will not wind up in organic certified foods and beverages.
“The NOSB is clear that GMOs do not belong in organic,” Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner for Friends of the Earth, told TriplePundit. “In the absence of strong federal regulations on the labeling and commercialization of genetic engineering, the organic standard continues to provide consumers with a transparent and clear way to avoid GMOs in the food they eat.”
One of the new GE methods the board is concerned about is synthetic biology, which designs and constructs new organisms to either produce something they would not normally produce or to edit DNA to stop certain traits from being expressed, according to FOE.
Some synthetic biology ingredients are ending up in food and consumer products without sufficient labeling, just as traditional GE ingredients do. GE ingredients in general lack adequate oversight, the group insists. And some are labeled as ‘natural,’ which is incredibly misleading to consumers. Although a few states passed mandatory GE labeling laws, the federal requirements are murky. Back in August, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that preempts state GE labeling laws, virtually striking them down with what many call a lackluster federal labeling requirement. Read more of this post