Labeling laws and debates are contentious enough when they are purely academic. When actual products are being given specific labels, or banned outright, the whole debate becomes more pressing. The stakes are high as discussion unfolds among lawmakers and food producers over what form the U.S. laws for labeling genetically modified organisms (GMO) will take.
GMO Salmon on Canadian Shelves
According to CNBC, a type of GM salmon, developed by a U.S. company, has gone on sale in Canada. The company that bred the modified fish, AquaBounty, has declared that early sales returns – five tons sold so far – show that people do want to eat GM foods.
CNBC noted that the fish almost went on sale in the U.S. in 2015, but that the Food and Drug Administration kept all GM fish products off the market until labeling laws existed to uniformly tell customers what they're eating. The fact that lack of a finished labeling law kept a product off the market shows the real consequences of these rules, and also highlights a difference between the U.S. and Canada.
There is not a rule in Canada insisting that products with GM fish be labeled as such. According to environmentalists in Canada, this is a serious problem. CNBC reported that there should be mandatory rules, for the sake of consumer education and information. Multiple supermarket chains in Canada have stated that they do not intend to sell GM fish.
GMO Labeling in Limbo
Where are the finalized GMO labeling laws that the U.S. needs to finalize before allowing sale of the salmon? According to Supermarket News, the rulings are set for summer of 2018. This means that they may be decided at the same time as the revised nutrition facts label for meat and poultry, as the government's Unified Agenda has placed those changes in the "inactive" category. This means that it will be at least six months before the matters are re-opened.
DSM Strategic Communications' Sean McBride told Supermarket News that while July 2018 is the stated date for enforceable GMO rules, he expects the timeline to slip somewhat. A good-faith effort may not be enough to get such a complex regulation finalized.
Labeling Should Be Responsive
With labeling laws constantly changing and new regulations being considered in the U.S. and publicly asked for in Canada, food producers may gain peace of mind from taking control of their labeling operations, bringing processes in-house. This is where printers such as the Afinia L801 excel. Look for it in our U.S. store or Canadian shop.