US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the development of new certification and labeling of products that are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A letter to USDA staff outlines the plans of Agriculture Marketing Service, which is working with interested companies to certify the accuracy of the claims found in food packages.
The initiative is in response to consumer advocates calling for mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms.
The for-a-fee certification is voluntary and approved foods would be able to carry a "USDA Process Verified" label along with a claim that they are free of GMOs.
In 2014, Vermont was the first state to mandate GMO-labeling, and will be enforced in 2016 if it passes legal opposition from the food industry.