Effective immediately, food companies may label as simply “non-GMO” any meat, poultry, and dairy products that were not made or fed with genetically modified or bioengineered ingredients.

In a recent Federal Register notice, the new guideline was opened for comment and may be amended according to input submitted during the 60-day window.

This is the first time FSIS will approve this type of negative-claim label for GMOs. According to the Federal Register notice, the terms “genetically modified,” “genetically engineered (GE)” and “bioengineered” are generally synonymous. Products may be labeled “non-GMO” when no food or feed ingredients used in their production have been genetically modified using modern biotechnology. Under this new guideline, multi-ingredient product labels may also claim no bioengineered ingredients.

To arrive at an accurate, approvable label, FSIS requires food establishments to comply with standards established by a third-party certifying organization. The third-party organization’s standards must be publicly available online, and labels must display the certifying organization’s web address.

FSIS has posted label examples for single- and multi-ingredient products, as well as for organic products. Previously approved negative-claim labels may change the terms “non-genetically engineered” or “non-GE” to “non-GMO” or “no genetically modified organisms” without approval from FSIS. New labels are not generically approved and must be submitted to FSIS for approval prior to being used.

More information, including procedures for comment submission, maybe be found on the USDA site.