Though GMOs have important applications in agriculture, many people have concerns about their long-term safety and environmental impact. The widespread use of GMOs in our food system has led to increased demand for products that are GMO-free.
For pre-packaged foods, reading the ingredient list can help you determine whether the product was made with, or contains any, GMO ingredients. However, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada regulations do not require companies to declare a product’s GMO status. This means that products containing GMOs may not be labelled as such.
Dozens of countries have adopted labelling policies for GMOs. The most widely used regulations referenced by Vermont and others were introduced by the European Union (EU), which includes legislation allowing for low levels (0.9%) of unintentional or technically unavoidable approved (authorized) GMOs to go unlabelled in food and animal feed. Policies and regulations vary widely in scope, exceptions, and degree of enforcement, but are all meant to give consumers information and choice. Presently in North America, voluntary GMO labelling guidelines exist despite consumer demand for mandatory GMO labelling.
The IGEN certification mark provides peace of mind for shoppers in the absence of mandated GMO labelling. As a third-party program, IGEN works by encouraging food and dietary supplement companies to voluntarily test their products for the presence of GMOs and showcase their GMO status on the label.