GE labeling bill introduced in Congress

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2013 - A bill requiring the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label genetically engineered (GE) foods is introduced in Congress. The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act is introduced in the House by Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and in the Senate by Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who said consumers “have the right to know what is in the food they eat.”

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The legislation introduced Wednesday would require labels for genetically engineered whole foods and processed foods, including fish and seafood. The measure directs the FDA to write new labeling standards. Currently, FDA only requires labeling of GE foods if the food is significantly different in nutritional property, if it includes an allergen, or if it contains safety risks for the consumer. 

“American consumers have made it clear that they want to be empowered to make choices about the food they eat,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a cosponsor of the bill and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This legislation will deliver the transparency every American deserves by providing clear labeling standards for food containing genetically engineered ingredients.”

The legislation follows last year's letter from Senator Boxer, Rep. DeFazio and 54 Senate and House lawmakers asking the FDA to require the labeling of GE foods. The letter specifically mentioned FDA's consideration of GE salmon.

Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, introduced a similar bill in the 112th Congress.

Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are cosponsors of the Senate bill.

Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), James Moran (D-VA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Don Young (R-AK), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), George Miller (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Ann Kuster (D-NH) are cosponsors of the House bill.

Groups supporting new labeling requirements include the Center for Food Safety, the National Farmers Union, Consumers Union, Environmental Working Group, Stonyfield Farms, Consumer Federation of America, National Cooperative Grocers Association and the New England Farmers Union. For a full list of groups supporting the bill, click here.


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