PhotoThe U.S. Agriculture Department has approved a label for meat and liquid eggs that have not been produced with genetically-modified feed. To be eligible, the meat and eggs will have to be certified by the the Non-GMO Project.

The USDA says it's not a new policy and notes that it has previously allowed companies to say on their labels that their products have been certified by a recognized third party.

The USDA regulates meat and poultry products. Other foods are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Does it matter what animals eat? Well, it might. A new study finds that pigs fed genetically-modified feed were less healthy than pigs that ate non-modified feed. 

The study was published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Organic Systems. Australian researchers studied 168 U.S. pigs over 22 weeks. Half ate a diet that included genetically-modified soybeans and corn while the other half ate a similar diet that had not been genetically engineered.

While the pigs gained about the same amount of weight, the ones eating the genetically-modified diet had a higher rate of severe stomach inflamation -- 42 percent versus 12 percent.

Does it matter?

Does this have any implications for humans who eat the pork from the pigs who were fed the genetically-modified diet? No one is quite sure and researchers say more studies are needed to answer that question.

Meanwhile, food safety advocates say that consumers have a right to know whether they're eating food that has been produced with genetic engineering or whether it is natural, more or less.

It's a controversial issue in the food business. Several states are considering legislation of one sort or another and the USDA and FDA are pondering what else, if anything, they should do about it.

Connecticut just a few weeks ago passed a bill that would require food manufacturers to label food that has been genetically modified, although the measure doesn't become effective until four other states adopt similar laws.

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