The USDA has approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that includes a claim about the absence of genetically engineered products. It is the first time the department has approved a non-GMO label claim which attests that meat certified by the Non-GMO Project came from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa, reports the New York Times.

The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service “allows companies to demonstrate on their labels that they meet a third-party certifying organization’s standards, provided that the third-party organization and the company can show that the claims are truthful, accurate and not misleading,” Cathy Cochran, a USDA spokeswoman, said in a statement. She added that the approval for labeling meats did not signal “any new policy regarding non-G.E. or non-GMO products.”

Mindful Meats, which makes beef products from organic dairy cows, last year submitted a label that included the Non-GMO Project’s certification, but the label claim was rejected.

“It turned out that the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service had not yet created a rule for handling non-GMO claims for meat and poultry products, so they just denied us,” said Claire Herminjard, founder and chief executive of the company.

Mindful Meats then partnered with two other companies, Hidden Villa Ranch and Pitman Farms/Mary’s Chicken, to petition the USDA. The Non-GMO Project’s standards, requirements and auditing processes were vetted by the USDA before approval the label claim.

Source: New York Times