Do consumers have a right to know whether foods have been made with GM ingredients?

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Genetic engineering, Food and drug administration, Dna

AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon would not need to be labeled as such - were it to get the regulatory green light
AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon would not need to be labeled as such - were it to get the regulatory green light
A coalition of nearly 400 businesses and organizations has delivered a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.

While the vast majority of corn and soy grown in the US was from GE seeds, packaged foods containing ingredients made from these crops were not labeled accordingly, said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety and lead author of the petition.

"We are asking the FDA to change a decade's old and out of touch policy. Today's consumers are more informed than ever, and they have a right to know about the foods they are purchasing and consuming. We want the FDA to require labeling on foods intentionally produced using genetic engineering."

Stonyfield Farm chief executive Gary Hirshberg added: "While our reasons for wanting to know what is in our food may vary, the one thing no one can debate is that it is our right to know.”

As the law stands, the FDA does not require additional labeling about production methods (such as genetic engineering) if the resulting products are not “materially different​” from their conventional counterparts as a result.

In a recent guidance document about GE labeling, the FDA said: “The FDA has no basis for concluding that bioengineered foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way, or that, as a class, foods developed by the new techniques present any different or greater safety concern than foods developed by traditional plant breeding.”

For a complete list of the members of the coalition, click here​.

To find out more about the Just Label It campaign, click here​.

Related topics: Regulation, The GM debate

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3 comments

Requirement to disclose, if GMO? Absloutely.

Posted by john polifronio,

It's difficult to imagine how anyone in their right mind, would not wish that GMO foods, for any conceivable human, or animal feed use, would be required to make clear such GMO contamination. I use the word "contamination," obviously, since I can't see why many people would, otherwisee, seek to conceal its involvement in foods. If GMO is simply a desireable addition to foods, why the wish to conceal its presence? The use of the word "Organic," to the extent that the use is justified by the facts, is anxiously added to the description of foods, when they're marketed.

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Much GMO food is adulterated by the FDA'a own definition

Posted by marco aurilio,

Section 402(a)(1) of the FFDCA provides that a food is deemed to be adulterated if it contains any poisonous or deleterious substances, such as chemical contaminants, which may or ordinarily render it harmful to health. Recently researchers in Canada found "Serum 3-MPPA[GMO herbicide metabolite] and CryAb1 toxin[GMO toxin from rBt] were detected in PW [pregnant women], their fetuses and NPW [non-pregnant women]" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338670
How much evidence do you need?… This link is a smoking gun. Wake up folks, labeling of food ingredients is a constitutional right which is being thwarted by GMO advocates. YES to labeling and yes to truth!!!

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Biased Presentation In This Article

Posted by Jon Yaffe,

Since this is a news article, reporting on the action and position taken by a coalition of some 400 organizations, why is the headline phrased as a question? It's possible that the author's purpose is to do what she can to undermine the arguments it is reporting.
A more appropriate headline would have been the straightforward "Coalition Petitions FDA, Asserting Consumers Right For GE Product Labeling".
Another indication of bias is found in the first paragraph of the article, where she states the background argument in the past tense; as if to imply this may have been a problem in the past, but isn't in the present.
Let the news be the news; let opinion be opinion - another case for clear labeling!

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