There is no requirement that foods sold in the USA containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) be labeled as such. The USDA even allows such foods to labeled as “natural.” Some states are considering passing laws requiring that GMO food be labeled, and 90% of Americans say they want that information on the labels. Of course Monsanto has indicated that it will sue any state which passes such a law. Over 40 countries require such labelling. But not ours.
It seems to me that labelling is usually used to mislead rather than inform. Anytime a food label makes a health claim, the product is usually unhealthy. You’ll never see a health claim on whole natural foods, like an apple. But processed crap food often is prominently labelled with something like “ENRICHED WITH VITAMIN A!!” or “LOW IN FAT.” These kinds of things are red flags that the seller is trying to lure you with misleading claims.
A perfect example, which I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, are the misleading claims made on egg cartons. Thing like “Cage Free” or “Vegetarian Diet.” When you pay extra for eggs in a supermarket thinking you are getting superior eggs, you’re usually getting ripped off. Just find a local farmer and get your eggs from him (or better yet, start keeping a few chickens of your own.)
If you buy meat that is labelled “enhanced with broth,” what that actually means is that the meat has been injected with saline solution to increase its weight and make it look plumper. This is very common with chicken. The label is intended to make you think you’re getting a superior product. Instead, you’re getting ripped off.
I don’t waste time advocating for changes to labelling laws. I tell people to assume that the food they buy in grocery stores has GMOs in it, unless it specifically says it doesn’t. And I’m well aware of how quickly and cleverly the industrial food business will circumvent the intent of any labelling laws.
A couple of tips from Michael Pollan help. Don’t buy anything that has more than 5 ingredients. Don’t buy anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce. Don’t buy anything your great grandmother would not have recognized as food.
Whenever possible, buy your food locally from farmers you know, who feed the same food to their own families. Visit the farm. That is the best assurance you can have as to the safety and quality of the food.
And don’t trust labels.