Tag Archives: ingredients

Food For Thought: The Federal GMO Labeling Law

For several years, legislative bodies throughout the country have struggled with the issue of whether to label food products as containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or bioengineered food. Congress and various states have wrestled with whether to require foods containing GMOs to be labeled as such, and, if so, what the label should look like.

In July 2016, Congress voted to pass a GMO disclosure bill, establishing national standards for food labeling when foods contain GMO ingredients (with certain exceptions). On July 29, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the bill into law (GMO Labeling law). While proposed federal legislation in 2015 would have made GMO labeling only a voluntary program, the new GMO Labeling law—the result of bipartisan congressional compromise—makes GMO labeling mandatory. The law also preempts individual state GMO labeling laws.

Although the GMO Labeling law provides information about the different ways companies will be permitted to disclose GMO ingredients, it leaves the specific regulations implementing the law to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish by July 2018. Therefore, some uncertainty about the details of the new law remains for food companies, industry groups and consumers. It also remains to be seen how, if at all, the new law and the buzz surrounding it will cause some companies to modify any prior decisions to label GMO-containing products. Additionally, will the law impact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s highly anticipated definition of the term “natural” in food labeling? Significantly, will the new presidential administration affect implementation of the law, and if so, how? The GMO Labeling law begins a new chapter of the GMO labeling saga, but the tale is far from over.

What Does the New Law Say?
The secretary of agriculture, as head of USDA, is tasked with promulgating the specific GMO labeling regulations, including determining 1) which foods will be considered “bioengineered” and subject to the labeling requirements and 2) the specific ways a company can disclose GMOs on its labels. But the GMO Labeling law requires that disclosure be made on a food label through one of the following ways: text, a symbol or picture, a hotline consumers can call to receive GMO information or a bar code that links to a website displaying GMO information for the product.

Read More at Food Safety Magazine

Bugs are in your food, and it’s FDA approved

Red lipstick has been a timeless staple in pop culture for as long as the beauty world can remember. But did you know the secret behind the pop of color is actually due to crushed-up insect extract?

That’s right. Bugs are the secret to fiery red lips as well as other products such as cheek blush, red gum, berry-flavored yogurt, some ice cream, some ketchup, and several others.

These not-so-mystery bugs are Cochineal insects. They’re harvested in Peru and the Canary Islands and are found on cacti. The result of the sun-dried, crushed, and soaked in acid Cochineal bug is a bright red-colored pigment. It takes about 70,000 insects to produce a pound of dye, according to Live Science.

Don’t worry, this natural coloring is FDA approved! As of 2009, the FDA states that color additives from cochineal extract can be used, but they must be labeled clearly on all food and cosmetic products in the U.S. To learn about the specifications, you can access it here.

“The U.S. food-regulating agency permits a generous threshold of insects in foods before they’re considered contaminated: up to 60 aphids in 100 grams of frozen broccoli of 550 insect fragments per average box of pasta” says National Geographic. These bugs are natural, and they’re safe to consume!

If you’re experiencing the creeps, just remember not to think about it too much. Cochineal insects are here to help, and they’re here to stay.


“Bugs are in our Food — And That’s OK.” National Geographic. Print. Feb 2017.

Guidance for Industry: Cochineal Extract and Carmine: Declaration by Name on the Label of All Foods and Cosmetic Products That Contain These Color Additives; Small Entity Compliance Guide. FDA.gov. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm153038.htm

“Here’s what you need to know about the ground-up insects that Starbucks puts in your Frappuccino.” Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/how-cochineal-insects-color-your-food-and-drinks-2012-3/#the-cochineal-insect-is-native-to-mexico-and-south-america-and-contrary-to-the-popular-nomenclature-theyre-not-technically-beetles-theyre-tiny-and-live-on-cactus-plants-usually-the-prickly-pear-cactus-1

“The Truth About Red Food Dye Made from Bugs.” Live Science. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/36292-red-food-dye-bugs-cochineal-carmine.html

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