WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has approved for the first time a third-party certification label that claims a meat product is free of genetically modified organisms.


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The Non-GMO Project, a third-party certifying organization, had asked FSIS in October 2012 for permission to issue a label for food companies stating that the animals used were fed an entirely non-GMO diet. The agency worked with the organization, the food companies in question, the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to verify the accuracy of the label.

However, this approval does not equate to an official sanction of the non-GMO claims, merely that the product meets the Non-GMO Project’s standards for what constitutes GMO-free.

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“The agency has not developed any new policy regarding non-GE or non-GMO products and is not certifying that the labeled products are free of genetic engineering or genetic modifications,” said FSIS spokesperson Cathy Cochran.

FSIS permits food companies to use third-party certification labels provided the claims are “truthful, accurate and not misleading” and that information is available for consumers to scrutinize the claims.

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