ITIF Search

ITIF Files FDA Citizen Petition to Prohibit “Non-GMO” Labels

September 24, 2018

WASHINGTON—To counter false claims and allegations by the Non-GMO Project butterfly campaign, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s top-ranked science and technology policy think tank, today filed a Citizen Petition to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a regulation prohibiting the use of the term “Non-GMO” on consumer foods and goods and requiring distributors to omit any “Non-GMO” term or claims on their labeling.

“The ‘Non-GMO’ Project butterfly campaign deceives consumers through false and misleading claims about foods, food ingredients and their health and safety characteristics,” said ITIF Senior Fellow Val Giddings, who is leading the petition. “The campaign constitutes misbranding under the law, and the FDA should act in the best interest of consumers and protect them, as the law demands, against the confusion spread by these false claims.”

According to the Citizen Petition, the Non-GMO Project presumes the existence of a class of foods, “GMO,” that is arbitrary, has no basis in science, and is intrinsically misleading.

The Citizen Petition highlights the following statements of grounds:

  • The Non-GMO Project butterfly logo wrongly stigmatizes the so-called “GMOs” and, in doing so, misleads consumers;
  • The Non-GMO Project makes false claims about food health and safety that are conveyed by the butterfly logo to misbrand foods and mislead consumers;
  • The Non-GMO Project makes false claims about the science of “GMO” safety and, in doing so, misleads consumers;
  • The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act prohibits labels that are “false or misleading in any particular,” and the butterfly logo is false and misleading on multiple grounds such that foods carrying it are misbranded.

“The Non-GMO Project falsely implies that what happens randomly in nature is safer than what humans do deliberately, with care and foresight. Consumers deserve the truth about their food, and whether or not it has been bioengineered or otherwise improved by humans says absolutely nothing about the safety of the resulting product,” Giddings added.

Read the Citizen Petition.


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.

Back to Top