A controversy that has brewed in the food production space for the last several years is whether companies have an obligation to label foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many studies have failed to indicate a connection between GMOs and an actual health risk, though the ingredients have drawn criticism and skepticism. In a marketplace where a premium is placed on organic methods of production, GMOs are an example of scientific manipulation of the food supply.
However, there are plenty of products that fall somewhere in the middle of these poles. They're not organic in the strict, certifiable sense, but they also don't contain genetically modified ingredients. If customers are led to assume that anything not certified organic contains GMOs, those products can't be accurately marketed on labels and in grocery stores. A new bill to be proposed in Congress would create "organic-type" labels for products that occupy this middle ground. Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Kansas Republican, plans to introduce the proposal as part of a legislation package.
"Pompeo says a government-certified label would allow companies that want to advertise their foods as GMO-free to do so, but it would not be mandatory for others," explains the Associated Press. "The food industry, which backs Pompeo's bill, has strongly opposed individual state efforts to require labeling, saying labels would be misleading because GMOs are safe. The bill would also override any state laws that require the labeling."
Proponents of the measure argue that inconsistency between state laws could complicate packaging and distribution for food manufacturers. Enacting a federal standard for identifying GMO-free foods would level the playing field. This effort to improve food labeling addresses a space in the market that often goes neglected in debates over organic foods and GMOs. With an industrial label printer, companies can take charge of their custom label strategy and market products effectively.