New bill in Congress would require GMO labeling
Some federal lawmakers want you to be warned before you put food made from genetically engineered plants and animals into your mouth.
It’s just common sense, right? Yeah, well, tell that to the Food and Drug Administration.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced legislation with bipartisan support Wednesday that would require genetically engineered foods to be clearly labeled. Such commonsense labeling is unpopular with big agribusiness, which fears that consumers would avoid many of their products if they knew about their freaky ingredients. But the idea is overwhelmingly popular with Americans.
Last year, 55 members of the U.S. Senate and House called on the FDA to mandate such labeling, but the effort failed.
The legislation … has support from both sides of the aisle, including more than 20 co-sponsors combined in the Senate and House of Representatives.
It has been hailed by food labeling advocates as a boon for consumers who have repeatedly tried to get such laws passed. California’s Proposition 37, a referendum on requiring genetically engineered food labeling last year, failed to pass. Boxer tried to pass a similar bill, without success, in 2000. But activists say that Boxer and DeFazio’s proposed legislation shows that demand for a genetically engineered labeling law has reached critical mass.
“This is big because for the first time in 13 years the U.S. Senate has recognized consumers’ right to know,” said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, of the federal proposal. “Labeling has become a nonpartisan issue. It’s no longer an issue of if, but when.”
Why label GMOs? You already know, but here are some commonsense arguments from the lawmakers behind the bill:
“Americans have the right to know what is in the food they eat so they can make the best choices for their families,” Senator 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.”
“When American families purchase food, they deserve to know if that food was genetically engineered in a laboratory,” Representative DeFazio said.
Did we mention that this is really just common sense?