Lawmakers push for labeling of genetically engineered foods

Legislators in the House and Senate this week introduced bills requiring manufacturers to clearly label foods that have been genetically engineered.

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The measures, which have bipartisan support in both chambers, call for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop standards so consumers can plainly tell which foods have been genetically engineered.

“Americans have the right to know what is in the food they eat so they can make the best choices for their families,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

Boxer introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act on Wednesday along with nine co-sponsors.


“This legislation is supported by a broad coalition of consumer groups, businesses, farmers, fishermen and parents who all agree that consumers deserve more – not less – information about the food they buy,” she said.

Dozens of consumer advocacy, environmental and business groups endorsed the legislation, including the Center for Food Safety, EarthJustice, Ben and Jerry's and the Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports.

“When American families purchase food, they deserve to know if that food was genetically engineered in a laboratory,” added Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), in a statement.

DeFazio introduced the legislation in the House with 22 co-sponsors.

A March Huffington Post/YouGov poll found that 82 percent of Americans believe food containing genetically modified ingredients should be labeled accordingly.

In March 2012, Boxer and DeFazio were among 55 legislators who sent a letter to the FDA asking the agency to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.

"At issue is the fundamental right consumers have to make informed choices about the food they eat," the lawmakers wrote at the time.

"Labeling foods doesn’t imply a product is unsafe or will be confusing to consumers as some may argue. The FDA requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives, and processes; providing basic information doesn’t confuse the public, it empowers them to make choices."