More than 90 Percent of Americans Support the Right to Know What Is In The Foods We Feed Our Families.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced that she has cosponsored the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clearly label genetically engineered (GE) foods so that consumers can make informed choices about what they eat.
"Americans deserve to know where their food comes from," Senator Mikulski said. "This legislation will help families make informed decisions. If GE foods are safe, let them into the market, but give consumers the information they need to avoid these products if they choose to. We need to let Americans – many of whom find this repugnant – speak with their dollars and choose the food they feel confident is safe."
According to surveys, more than 90 percent of Americans support the labeling of genetically engineered foods. In fact, many consumers are surprised to learn that GE foods are not already labeled.
Currently, the FDA requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes, but the agency has resisted labels for genetically modified foods. In a 1992 policy statement, the FDA allowed GE foods to be marketed without labeling, claiming that these foods were not "materially" different from other foods because the genetic differences could not be recognized by taste, smell or other senses.
Consumers – who are used to reading labels to see if foods contain MSG, gluten, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup or aspartame – clearly want more information. More than one and a half million Americans have filed comments with the FDA urging the agency to label GE foods.
The bipartisan legislation would require clear labels for genetically engineered whole foods and processed foods, including fish and seafood. The measure would direct the FDA to write new labeling standards that are consistent with U.S. labeling standards and international standards.
Sixty-four countries around the world already require the labeling of GE foods, including all the member nations of the European Union, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand.