The Agriculture Department 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 that the department, which regulates meat and poultry processing, 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.
A USDA spokeswoman said the approval for labeling meats did not signal new policy.
Labeling foods to indicate the absence or presence of genetically engineered ingredients is one of the most contentious issues in the food business today, with about two dozen states mulling labeling requirements and the biotech industry fighting back with intense lobbying.
More and more companies, however, are voluntarily labeling their products, including most recently Chipotle, the thriving restaurant chain, which now points out items containing genetically engineered ingredients on its online menu.
Meat from animals that eat non-GMO feed is highly prized by some consumers.