Obama Signs Bill Mandating GMO Labeling

PHOTO: This Oct. 5, 2012 file photo shows products labeled with Non Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) being sold at the Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins store in Los Feliz district of Los Angeles.Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo
This Oct. 5, 2012 file photo shows products labeled with Non Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) being sold at the Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins store in Los Feliz district of Los Angeles.

A bill that creates a federal labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified ingredients (commonly called GMOs) was signed into law by President Barack Obama today.

“This measure will provide new opportunities for consumers to have access to information about their food,” Katie Hill, a White House spokeswoman, told ABC News.

Two weeks ago, Congress passed the legislation which would require food packages to display an electronic code, text label, or some sort of symbol signifying whether or not they contain GMOs, according to The Associated Press.

The exact details will need to be worked out by the Department of Agriculture, which will have up to two years to write the rules, The AP reports.

The news agency says that the law was largely supported by the food industry, which wished to see a national standard set for labeling products with GMOs, rather than separate and varying laws passed by states.

GMOs, often called "genetically engineered" crops, have their genetic information modified to give a plant a desirable trait.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, genetically engineered crops first entered the U.S. food supply in the 1990s, and account for 93 percent of planted soybeans and 88 percent of corn.

Genetically engineered crops, the agency says, are as safe to eat as traditional crops.

Between 75 and 80 percent of foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, The AP reports.