Lawmakers Sign Petition Urging FDA to Label Genetically Engineered Foods
Fifty-five members of Congress have sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in support of a legal petition demanding the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Signed by 10 senators and 45 representatives, the March 12, 2012, letter urges FDA “to protect a consumer’s right to know, the freedom to choose what we feed our families, and the integrity of our free and open markets.”
Filed in October 2011 by the nonprofit Center for Food Safety, the petition
reportedly has the support of more than 400 health and consumer agencies
and has received nearly a million comments in favor of GE labeling, the
lawmakers said. They assert that FDA’s 1992 policy statement allowing GE
foods to be marketed without labeling is inadequate and outdated because it
merely covers foods changed “materially” by taste, smell or other senses.
“The use of novel food technologies like genetic engineering on a commercial
scale has so far slipped underneath FDA’s limited threshold for ‘materiality’
because technologies make silent, genetic, and molecular changes to food
that are not capable of being detected by human senses,” states the letter,
which was spearheaded by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Representative
Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and signed by several lawmakers who have
recently focused on food-safety issues, including Representative Louise
Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.).