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GMO’s Are Now Called Bioengineered In The USA: Why This Matters

Gmo's Got A New Name

It was an uphill struggle to get GMO labeling laws in place, and now things just became more complicated. With the new name, Bioengineered, the presence of GMO’s will be harder to identify in your food purchases. Read on to learn about the changes and how to make wise choices about the food you eat.

Note: This article is not written to define or to debate the value or credibility of genetically modified foods. For those of you who already know about and avoid using genetically modified foods in your diet, this article is about changes in food labeling and what you should be looking for when you buy your foods.

In the days of our great-grandparents and grandparents, there was not much concern regarding food purity and food safety, because wholesome farm-to-table was the norm – not a special event. That is, as long as the people upstream didn’t pollute the river!

Our generation has more to think about, as over 80% of processed foods in the USA contain genetically modified organisms. The concern for food purity took a twist early this year when the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) decided to rename Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) as Bioengineered (BE) foods.

For many decades, tech companies have been developing ways to genetically modify, enhance and (in their opinion) add value to the foods we grow and eat. There is much written on the sketchy “science” that forms the basis of this program of modifying foods.

Rather than debate those points, the main issue is that the new designation of BE carries a loophole that does not include some GMO foods. Disappointingly (but not surprisingly) this new federal law falls short of fulfilling GMO labeling standards.

The new law came into effect in January 2022, without much fanfare. The law states that in order to be labeled as BE, foods must contain a detectable amount of genetically modified material. Unfortunately, there are many genetically modified foods that are untestable, and therefore are eliminated from the labeling requirement.

GMO's Got A New Name

What Foods Fall Under The Bioengineered (BE) Umbrella?

The USDA provides a list of foods that contain genetically modified material and require the BE label:

  • Alfalfa 
  • Arctic™ Apple
  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Cotton
  • Bt Eggplant
  • Ringspot virus-resistant Papaya
  • Pink Pineapple
  • Potato
  • AquAdvantage® Salmon
  • Soybean
  • Summer squash
  • Sugarbeet

Numerous processed foods will now include the BE label. Some of those foods are :

  • Sodas/soft drinks
  • Frozen foods (meals and single items)
  • Canned soups
  • Baked goods
  • Tofu made from GMO soy beans
  • Non-organic milk made from cows fed genetically modified soy products
  • Sweetened juices
  • Dressings made with GMO canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower
  • Cereals
GMo's Got A New Name

However, the new labeling law does not include products that are manufactured using these basic ingredients and forming a new product. There are numerous products made with new GMO techniques, ones we are just now hearing about in the news, for example: CRISPR, TALEN and RNAi techniques. These techniques do not have commercially available tests, and it is impossible to identify the genetically modified ingredients that they contain; therefore they are excluded from the BE labeling requirement.

The Non-GMO Project provides this list of products excluded from labeling:

  • Some foods for direct human consumption are exempt, such as meat, poultry and eggs.
  • Multi-ingredient products in which meat, poultry or eggs are the first ingredient listed are exempt even if other ingredients with detectable modified genetic material are included in the product. 
  • Animal feed, pet food and personal care products are all exempt from BE labeling.

To give an example, the non-GMO Project describes labeling for a can of soup that contains BE corn, but the ingredient list of the soup names meat as the main ingredient (second to water and broth or stock, which are overlooked for this purpose). As the law does not require BE meat to be labeled, the soup does not have to identify that BE corn is present in the soup. So, that means a can of cream of corn soup that contains BE corn as a primary ingredient must be labeled, but any canned soup that contains BE corn not as the main ingredient, does not need to have a BE label.

What Does This New Law Mean For The Consumer?

The short answer: Confusion

For the last decades, many consumer-oriented organizations, including the Non-GMO Project and Jeffrey Smith, of the Institute for Responsible Technology, have worked tirelessly to educate the public about the health risks of GMO’s and their effect on the environment. At this point in time, most people are quite familiar with the concept of GMO… and over 40% of the USA population wants to know what’s in their food. Now the federal government has renamed GMO’s (while excluding some of them). Most people are not familiar with the term Bioengineered (BE) and have no idea that it means genetically modified organisms are in their food!

Language is important.

We have all seen over time that language changes and slowly the meanings of words shift in common usage. For example, in the 60’s, the Flintstones cartoon theme song happily mentioned having a “gay old time” (as in: carefree) but nowadays you can’t use that phrase without meaning something entirely different!

Or, how about the slang usage of the word “sick” to mean something great? Or a dude, used to mean a man working on a ranch but is now used as a gender-nonspecific slang term. Or, as on the east coast of the USA, the term “wicked” means really good, not evil. So, here we go again, with an unneeded and unwanted name change for something that people have come to understand – GMO’s.

Add this to the confusion of this new labeling term: For decades now, in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe, the term “Bio” or “Biologishe” has become synonymous with natural organic products – the exact opposite of this new BE usage of the word “BIO” in the USA. In fact, one of the largest trade shows for organic products for all of Europe, attended by thousands of organic food and product companies from around the world, is named BIOFACHE.

SO, this new definition of the word “Bio” also serves to undermine the understood and accepted usage of that terminology by those who want to be assured that their food and personal care products have not been altered in a laboratory. This appears to be yet another designed plan of those corporate entities who are driven to tinker with genetics.

After the last few years, the public has become more aware of what can happen when RNA and DNA gene “therapy” is introduced into the population. It sure seems to me that this new Bioengineered name for GMO’s is an attempt to make it difficult to understand that these products are genetically modified.

This fits right in with the agenda being promoted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to create a fourth industrial revolution. The WEF’s leader, Klaus Schwab, doesn’t hesitate to announce that their aim is to “fuse our physical, digital and biological identities.” If that rings some alarm bells for you, you might also want to take a look at our article about understanding social engineering and how it is creeping into our world (and not in the most positive way!).

GMo's Got A New Name

Why Would You Want To Avoid GMO and BE Foods?

We’ve already mentioned that while average consumers are going about their daily lives, big tech companies (chemical and food manufacturers) are actively creating new GMO’s in their laboratories. These foods have also been nick-named “Frankenfoods” because, like Frankenstein, the mixing, matching and splicing of genetic material in a laboratory has untested and unseen consequences.

However, those involved in the practices claim that what they are doing is not much different than traditional crossbreeding, but changes just occur a bit faster. While moving forward with their agenda to genetically modify our food supplies, they also do not address consumer concerns about allergies, cancer and environmental issues surrounding these altered products.

This attitude is disconcerting because it does not take into consideration the very complex micro-changes in the natural world that occur over long periods of time. I question this whenever I see an item listed on a food label as “nature identical” – which means it has been chemically produced using the same chemical components of a natural item – but is it really identical?

If so, why not use the natural ingredient? I don’t think it is identical, even if it has the same chemical composition, because it does not come from a natural environment. There is so much that contributes to the synergy of the components of a fruit or vegetable grown in nature. Whether you consider the birds, bees, wind, sunlight, soil, water, even the caring attention of the attending farmer – all of these add together to create a nourishing food item that we can utilize for our health.

Circumventing these natural contributing factors seems irresponsible. It will not produce the same result if we speed up the natural evolution of something by artificially reproducing it in a laboratory environment. Just like Frankenstein, it takes time to know what the effects of tinkering with nature will be. So, we at the Enchanted SpiceBox will always prefer organic and natural. In a world that is always rushing to achieve more, gain more, do more, fill your days to the max… we tend to go more with the idea that inspired the Slow Food Movement… take time to enjoy the natural food as it grows in its own time. 🙂

Conclusion

Like it or not, the USDA has made a decision to change the name of GMO’s and that is reflected in their required labeling. When you see the new circular labeling on packaged foods that says either “bioengineered” or “derived from bioengineering” you should be aware that indicates genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are contained in those foods.

At the same time, not all foods that contain GMO’s will be required to have a BE label. Since you can no longer be sure that a product does not contain genetically modified material, the best way to avoid these products is to:

  • make sure that you buy organic products whenever possible
  • avoid processed foods, or if you do use them, use those that contain organic ingredients
  • look for Non-GMO labels or the Butterfly label from the Non-GMO Project that guarantees no BE ingredients in the products that bear the label
  • try to purchase from small local farmers and producers that share your views on GMO’s

If you are not sure about a product, our motto is always, “When in doubt, leave it out!”

When unsure, do some research, so you are more informed about what BE products are and if you choose, how you can avoid them. At the very least, you are now aware of the new label and what it means, so you can make educated decisions about what you are eating for your health.

For further reading, please feel free to check out our in-depth article about chemicals in make-up and personal care products and our post that explains all about natural cosmetic alternatives because even those choices can be confusing!

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