Groups ask Obama to fulfill GMO labeling campaign promise

By Aarian Marshall

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2014 - Over 200 food, consumer and environmental groups today joined with four members of the House of Representatives to ask President Obama to fulfill a 2007 campaign promise to label genetically modified foods.

Together we can feed the Bees"

"We believe there should be a mandatory national labeling system,” the groups wrote in a letter, citing the consumers' “right to know” what is on their grocery shelves. “FDA has a duty to act when the absence of labeling would leave consumers confused about the foods they buy.”

Signers included the Organic Consumer Association, Greenpeace, the Center for Food Safety, and Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.; Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; Ann Kuster, D-N.H., and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.

At a 2007 campaign event, then-Senator Obama said he would use his presidency to “let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified, because Americans should know what they're buying.”

The letter comes as the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a trade group representing food and beverage companies, is gearing up to introduce its own national labeling legislation.

Reports, however, indicate GMA's labeling initiative would be voluntary.

State GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington were rejected by voters in 2012 and 2013. Though Maine and Connecticut both passed labeling initiatives last year, those laws would only take effect should other contiguous states pass similar legislation. 

States including Vermont, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona are expected to consider their own labeling bills this year.

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