Demand Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods
The United States is a rarity among developed countries in that it does not require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and 15 nations in the European Union require notice of GE content. A poll by ABC News shows that 93 percent of Americans want the federal government to require mandatory labeling of these foods.
The nonprofit Center for Food Safety (CFS) has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanding that the agency require the labeling of GE foods, on behalf of the Just Label It campaign (JustLabelIt.org), a coalition of 350 companies, organizations, scientists, doctors and individuals dedicated to food safety and consumer rights.
In 1992, the FDA issued a policy statement that GE foods were not “materially” different than traditional foods, and so did not need to be labeled. Agency policy severely constricts differences only to alterations that can be tasted, smelled or otherwise detected through the five senses.
CFS Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell states, “Current FDA policy uses 19th-century rationale for a 21stcentury issue, leaving consumers in the dark as to hidden changes to their food. It is long overdue that the FDA acknowledges the myriad reasons genetically engineered foods should be labeled and label these novel foods once and for all.” Critics claim that GE foods are linked to both personal health and environmental risks.