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U.S. Officials Skeptical About Impact of 'Genetically Modified' Labels


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U.S. Officials Skeptical About Impact of 'Genetically Modified' Labels

International officials have reached a deal regarding genetically modified food. New regulations now make it simpler for manufacturers to label products containing these ingredients.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is made up of more than 100 countries, recently settled the 20-year debate. Codex set out guidelines determining that any country bringing in or exporting new foods that feature featuring labels identifying the inclusion of genetically modified ingredients will no longer run up against free trade laws or the World Trade Organization, CTV news reported.

However, the labels are unlikely to have an impact on U.S. food labels, The Los Angeles Times reported. The initiative is "voluntary," and some say the labeling is actually "misleading," because genetically modified products in the U.S. have been tested and are determined to be safe for consumption. According to the source more than 70 percent of processed foods contain the ingredients.

"The public gets bogged down on whether [crops are] genetically engineered or not. We think that's a distraction," said Pamela Ronald, a professor of plant pathology at the University of California-Davis, to the L.A. Times. "The consumer needs to know: Is it safe to eat?"

Canadian officials also anticipate little impact, according to CTV news. Similar to the U.S., genetically modified ingredients in Canada must be tested to determine safety.