USDA Approves Labels for Meats and Liquid Egg Products from Animals Free of GMO Feed. Yeah!

By on July 1, 2013

Inch by inch the war against genetically modified foods is being won.  It’s a long, hard slog, but we are making progress.  Even the USDA has made a pronouncement that helps. Although the statement by the U.S.D.A. does not mention Monsanto by name,  the new policy strikes a dagger into Monsanto’s heart since their primary money making business is animal feed that is genetically modified: corn, soy, and alfalfa.

Check this out.

 

U.S.D.A  Approves a Label for Meat and Liquid Egg Products From Animals Fed a Diet Free of Gene-Modified Products

Raw Cow's Milk advantages touted by National Farmers Union

Mindful Meats creates meat products from Organic Dairy Cows

Posted by Alexis Baden-Mayer (leader) Non-GMO Project

 

By Stephanie Strom for
The New York Times, June 20, 2013

The Agriculture Department has approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that includes a claim about the absence of genetically engineered products.

It is the first time that the department, which regulates meat and poultry processing, has approved a non-G.M.O. label claim, which attests that meat certified by the Non-GMO Project came from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa.

The U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety Inspection Service “allows companies to demonstrate on their labels that they meet a third-party certifying organization’s standards, provided that the third-party organization and the company can show that the claims are truthful, accurate and not misleading,” Cathy Cochran, a U.S.D.A. spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Ms. Cochran said the approval for labeling meats did not signal “any new policy regarding non-G.E. or non-G.M.O. products.”

Labeling foods to indicate the absence or presence of genetically engineered ingredients is one of the most contentious issues in the food business today, with about two dozen states mulling labeling requirements and the biotech industry fighting back with intense lobbying.

More and more companies, however, are voluntarily labeling their products, including most recently Chipotle, the thriving restaurant chain, which now points out items containing genetically engineered ingredients on its online menu.

Chipotle Mexican Grill marks menu items which contain GMO products

Chipotle Mexican Grill marks menu items which contain GMO products

Meat from animals that eat non-G.M.O. feed, like certified organic meats, is highly prized by some consumers, but claims made by meat labels must be approved by the U.S.D.A. When a new company called Mindful Meats submitted a label last fall that included the Non-GMO Project’s certification seal, the department rejected it.

“It turned out that the U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety Inspection Service had not yet created a rule for handling non-G.M.O. claims for meat and poultry products, so they just denied us,” said Claire Herminjard, founder and chief executive of Mindful Meats, which makes meat products from organic dairy cows.

Ms. Herminjard learned that two other companies, Hidden Villa Ranch, and Pitman Farms, which produces Mary’s Chicken, also wanted to put a non-G.M.O. label on their products, so they banded together to petition the U.S.D.A.

The U.S.D.A. vetted the Non-GMO Project’s standards, requirements and auditing processes before giving its approval. “It has to approve every single label that goes out into commerce, but this sets a precedent for other meat and poultry companies that want to label this way,” Ms. Herminjard said.

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About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”