Federal GE labeling law introduced

Published on: Apr 24, 2013

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.) introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which would require the labeling of all genetically engineered (GE) foods at the federal level. 

The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act is the first federal GE labeling bill to be introduced in the Senate since 2000.  Boxer and DeFazio were joined in this bipartisan bill by 9 Senators and 21 Representatives.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes, but the agency does not require labeling 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.

The bipartisan legislation introduced 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, a statement from Boxer's office said.

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.

The bipartisan labeling bill has been supported by over 100 organizations and businesses including Consumers Union, Environmental Working Group, Just Label It, the National Farmers Union, Stonyfield Farms, Consumer Federation of America, AllergyKids Foundation, National Cooperative Grocers Association, New England Farmers Union, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, Center for Environmental Health, Chefs Collaborative, Label GMOs, Alaska Trollers Association, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar & Company, Lundberg Family Farms, Nature’s Path, Annie’s Inc., and many others.