In what some observers may view as a surprise, the Natural Products Association (NPA) has called for a national standard on GMO labeling. Over the past 4-5 years, the organic industry has often been at odds with non-organic producers of “natural” food products. This tension resulted from an overlap of targeted consumers and the fact that “natural” products are less costly to produce and are not governed by a strict definition of “natural” in contrast to the rules and regulations of the USDA’s National Organic Certification Program. More recently, however, foods marketed as “natural” or “all natural” have been accused by some consumer groups and in numerous class action suits of misleading consumers because they contain GMO’s that are allegedly non-natural. It’s unclear, though, whether this has impacted the NPA’s position on this issue.
In its announcement, the NPA stated that it’s working towards establishing guiding principles regarding the labeling of foods and dietary supplements containing or produced by GMO. In this regard, the NPA’s board of directors adopted the following concepts should be included:
- NPA believes consumers have the right to be informed whether genetically modified components are in their foods.
- NPA supports and encourages the voluntary labeling on non-GMO foods.
- NPA believes that consideration of federal law promoting a uniform standard is warranted to avoid separate standards for GMO labeling at the state level.
- NPA opposes a private enforcement provision, which encourages abusive litigation, to impose compliance.
- NPA supports the FDA consistently reviewing the concept of bio-equivalency of genetically modified ingredients in light of the most recent scientific studies.
Please read the NPA’s white paper on its position here.