A continuing movement against genetically modified food by consumer advocacy, environmental and business groups gained some legislative steam this week with bills introduced in both chambers of Congress that would require manufacturers to clearly label food that has been genetically altered.
According to reports, the bipartisan-backed bills would require the Food and Drug Administration to develop standards requiring food growers and producers to connote whether 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,” said a statement from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announcing the introduction of her Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act in the Senate.
In the House, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced similar legislation, announcing, “When American families purchase food, they deserve to know if that food was genetically engineered in a laboratory.”
Polls indicate that a majority of Americans support efforts to require GMO labeling. But previous efforts to require disclosure have been quashed by large food producers that claim labeling is unneeded and will cause consumers to shun certain brands based on unproven claims about GMOs. The United States is currently one of the few developed nations that don’t mandate GMO labels. It trails 64 countries, including the European Union, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, China, South Africa and Australia, in requiring labels.
Co-sponsors of the Senate bill include: Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
And DeFazio’s House effort is co-sponsored by: Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), James Moran (D-Va.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), George Miller (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).