The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act is the latest legislation to be introduced to Congress in favor of mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients.
Introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the bill would charge the FDA with creating mandatory labeling guidelines for foods containing genetically modified ingredients.
“Consumers have a right to know what is in the foods they eat and parents have a right to know what they are feeding their families,” Boxer said in a statement.
“We cannot continue to keep Americans in the dark about the food they eat,” DeFazio said. “More than sixty other countries make it easy for consumers to choose. Why should the U.S. be any different?”
Currently, the U.S. has no federal regulations on labeling genetically modified foods. More than 60 countries around the world have bans or strict regulations in place on GMO crops and foods over human health and environmental concerns.
Introduced to the food supply in the last two decades, many scientists say there simply isn’t enough data on GMO foods to be certain they’re safe for human consumption. The environmental impacts have become serious concerns for pollinators including honeybees and monarch butterflies, two species that seem to be suffering as a direct result of herbicides and pesticides which are often applied to genetically modified crops.
“In 1992, FDA stated that it had no basis for concluding that bioengineered foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way, or that, as a class, foods developed by the new techniques present any different or greater safety concern than foods developed by traditional plant breeding,” reports Food Safety News.
“FDA currently supports voluntary labeling in which food manufacturers indicate whether their products have or have not been developed through genetic engineering, ‘provided such labeling is truthful and not misleading.’ ”
“The public wants more information about the food they are buying and how it’s grown,” said chef Tom Colicchio, who joined the lawmakers and advocates from Just Label It, Food Policy Action, Environmental Working Group and Center for Food Safety at a press conference announcing the bill. “I applaud Sens. Boxer and Blumenthal and Rep. DeFazio for their leadership and urge their colleagues to join them in standing up for the 93 percent of Americans who want to know whether their food has been genetically modified.”
Several states have passed GMO labeling bills including Vermont, Maine and Connecticut.
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