The Washington Examiner reports that they are “provoking the ire of environmental groups who say the rules favor agriculture industry interests over environmental concerns about the rising use of toxic chemicals by farmers.”
Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group says that the Department of Agriculture is endorsing the “motto” of the American Farm Bureau and other farm industry groups that “the customer is always wrong.”
The new label also doesn't correspond with other labeling regulations already used in dozens of other countries, Faber told the Examiner, and will likely cause confusion.
The reason? Simply that there was an about face and the new rules do not include processed foods like sugar, oil, and flour as GMOs. Frankly, these ingredients are highly likely to be genetically modified, so the exclusion will confuse many shoppers.
The American Farm Bureau said in comments to the Agriculture Department that their “concerns have always been that any mandated disclosures must not disparage biotechnology, impose undue regulatory burdens or create market discrimination when there are no material differences between conventional foods and foods derived from biotechnology."
“Consumers are not just interested in whether [genetically engineered] traits are present in the food, they’re interested in how the food was produced,” Faber said in the interview with the Washington Examiner. “People want to be part of the conversation about how this technology is used, and want to be trusted to make their own decisions.”
And the battle, and confusion, continues.