Over 60 countries around the world mandate labeling of genetically modified foods, including nations in the European Union, Russia, Australia, and China.
The US does not require labeling of genetically modified foods; however, many states have introduced labeling legislation and ballot initiatives. Vermont’s labeling law goes into effect this summer. Federal efforts are underway to establish a policy for national mandatory GMO labeling. Currently, the only way to differentiate between GMO and non-GMO foods is 1) USDA organic certification, which does not allow use of genetically modified ingredients; and/or 2) Non-GMO Project verification, an independent non-GMO verification process, or 3) NSF non-GMO True North standard, a recently developed non-GMO verification standard.
In the US, the word “natural” has no regulated definition. Most companies use the term “natural” as a marketing strategy. There is no regulation prohibiting the use of GMOs in products labeled natural. Recently, efforts have been made to establish a strong legal definition that precludes GMOs from being recognized as natural.
“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives.”– FDA