2 min read
African American man at the grocery store reads a food label.

All foods go through some form of genetic modification. As a result, all foods are considered genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

There are many methods to genetically modify foods. Some of the more simple methods include saving seeds from the best-tasting tomatoes and selective breeding to create hybrids. More advanced options include gene editing and bioengineered methods that alter the actual genes of a plant to make crops pest or disease resistant. These bioengineered (BE) methods utilize Recombinant DNA technology (rDNA) to develop new plants with unique traits.

Bioengineered Food Labels

In 2018 the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Marketing Services (USDA-AMS) created a labeling standard for foods developed using rDNA technology, National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard – NBFD Standard or BE Disclosure). The appearance of non-GMO labels on foods are not standardized or regulated and do not provide accurate information about nutrition, safety, or environmental impacts.

There are only 11 bioengineered items available in stores. Many products in the grocery store will have non-GMO labels on them to draw attention to the fact that those products do not contain BE items. These labels are used to give products a selling advantage over competitor products that may also not contain BE items.

Why are bioengineered food labels regulated?

The BE Disclosure standard was created because consumers requested that foods developed using rDNA technology be identified.

Are BE crops safe?

BE foods are safe to eat and BE methods of gene modification are essential to the food supply and conservation methods.


To learn more about GMO techniques and the history of GMOs, read the Alabama Extension publication GMO Food Facts: Bioengineered Crops. Other resources for information on GMOs include Genetically-Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects and the USDA website.



Content below reflects the text in graphics in the video:

  • Did you know all our food is genetically modified…
  • but few of our foods are bioengineered?
  • Then why do we see so many Non-GMO labels on foods at the store?
  • Non-GMO labels are not regulated.
  • Non-GMO labels are just tools used for marketing
  • Bioengineered food labels are regulated by the USDA.
  • There are only 11 bioengineered items available at the store.
  • Bioengineered Items: Alfalfa, Apples, Canola, Corn, Cotton, Potatoes, Rainbow Papaya, Salmon, Soybean, Squash, Sugar Beets
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