January 22, 2018

Center for Food Safety Criticizes GMA GMO Labeling Block

The Center for Food Safety is criticizing the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) for trying to block states from mandating labeling of genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) foods. GMA just announced the formation of a group called “Coalition for Safe Affordable Food” that is comprised of chemical groups, big food corporations, and biotechnology lobbyists. They plan to thwart attempts to label food that contains modified ingredients.

GMO TomatoAndrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety (CFS) said in a statement, “these companies spent nearly $70 million in California and Washington state to defeat GE labeling initiatives. They know that the food movement’s power is growing and that labeling is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. These companies have failed to win over consumers who overwhelmingly support the mandatory labeling of GMOs and now they’re trying to steal away consumer choice in Congress.”

The Coalition has not supported bills introduced into Congress that would require labeling of GE foods, in spite of claiming that it does support a federal standard. Voluntary labeling is permitted under current law, but no company has ever done this. Kimbrell continued, “voluntary labeling is an absolutely ineffective policy solution and is not a substitute for mandatory labeling.”

The Coalition also wants the FDA to define the word “natural” in food labeling to include genetically engineered products. This action would “codify deception in the marketplace”, according to CFS. A letter sent to the FDA by CFS last year states why this “natural” label is deceptive. CFS says that products of genetic engineering are not natural, since Black’s Law Dictionary defines “natural” as something that is “brought about by nature as opposed to artificial means” and “in accord with the regular course of things in the universe and without accidental or purposeful interference.”

Genetically modified or engineered foods are produced by insertion of foreign genetic material into a food plant or crop by artificial means such as a gene gun, a bacterial vector, or chemical or electrical treatment. In fact, the Monsanto definition of GMOs is “plants or animals that have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs.”

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