April 21, 2018

Genetically Engineered Right to Know Act Introduced to House and Senate

Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) have introduced new legislation to the U.S. House and Senate that would require the labeling of all genetically engineered (GE) foods. The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act is the first labeling bill introduced to the Senate in more than ten years. Nine senators and twenty-one representatives have signed on as co-sponsors.

Senator Boxer states that more than 90% of American support the right to know what’s in the foods they buy. Boxer said, “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.”

At this time, the FDA requires labeling of more than 3,000 ingredients, additives, and processes, but not for genetically modified foods. Twenty years ago, the FDA allowed these foods to be sold without labeling, stating that they were not “materially different” from non-engineered foods because the difference couldn’t be recognized by taste, smell, or other senses.

This is an antiquated policy that has not kept pace with modern technology and research. For instance, GE corn produces its own insecticide, which is completely different from traditional corn. The U.S. Patent Office recognizes these foods as “materially different and novel”.

The Center for Food Safety has put together a petition consumers can sign to urge their representatives to support this bill. That agency states that the United States is one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling of genetically engineered foods.

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