Printer Friendly

Lawmakers Introduce Tough GMO Food Labeling Bill.

As expected, a tough proposal was introduced last week that would mandate labeling of all foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Jack Metcalf (R-Wash.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sponsor the measure, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act. According to Reuters news service, the measure would require labels on any foods containing at least 0.10 percent GMO ingredients. This is a more stringent requirement than the recently announced European regulation requiring GMO labels on foods containing 1 percent or more bioengineered components.

Sanders says the bill amends the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to include genetically altered foods to the list of materials such as fat, protein and calories that must be disclosed on food labels. "The unregulated explosion in production of genetically engineered foods without proper disclosure and scientific exploration of the health risks is just one more example of corporate agribusiness putting profits ahead of people," said Sanders. He claimed there currently is "very little definitive information about whether these genetically altered products are harmful to humans." The bill is endorsed by the National Farmers Union, National Farmers Organization, National Family Farmers Association and the American Corn Growers Association.

Opposing the measure are, among others, the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) and the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA). NFPA Executive Vice President Kelly Johnston called current FDA labeling regulations "science-based" and said they should remain based on science "rather than on political pressure from activists opposed to the use of this technology." Lisa Katic, GMA's director of scientific and nutrition policy, said the labeling would distinguish GMO foods "in a meaningless way from their traditional counterparts" and worried they would "mislead consumers into believing that these products are somehow different or perhaps unsafe."

The controversy surrounding GMO foods may not have been so intense if marketing efforts had been able to demonstrate to consumers the direct benefits of modified foods, for example, hypoallergenic peanuts. The first wave GMO crops contained mainly agronomic benefits, (herbicide tolerance and insect resistance). The second wave includes those crops that contain specific value-added characteristics, like high-oleic soybeans that will produce oil with improved fatty-acid profiles (helping to improve diets to lower the risk of heart disease).

Today, a third wave of GMO crops, now in various stages of development, has even more significant consumer benefits and could temper the debate and win over critics. This phase of GMO crops involves the engineering of plants to provide new or improved products or more complex traits that will help humans ward off disease and live longer, as well as be environmentally friendly. GMO plants with specific consumer benefits that are in the pipeline include: 1) plants containing edible vaccines (e.g., a hepatitis vaccine in potatoes); 2) GMO plants with increased vitamins and proteins for improved health; and 3) hypoallergenic plants, including foods such as milk, wheat and peanuts.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Informa Economics, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Comment:Lawmakers Introduce Tough GMO Food Labeling Bill.
Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 15, 1999
Previous Article:McDonald's Shows Signs of Growth; Introduces Custom Cooking Line.
Next Article:Thai wine sales up as consumer confidence returns.

Related Articles
Australian Scientists Support Labels for Foods Containing Genetically Modified Ingredients.
Unilever, Nestle to Remove GMO Ingredients from British Product Lines.
Japan to Label GMO Food Imports, Implications and Benefits Seen for U.S. Food Processors.
Consumer Reports Highlights U.S. GMO Foods.
Environmental-Consumer Coalition Urges FDA Strictly Regulate GMOs.
Senate Agriculture Committee Approves Nationally Uniform Labeling Standards.
Australia, New Zealand to label GMO foods.
Is That Food Really GM-Free? AFFI Seeks Strict Guidelines.
Ah-tchoo! Do genetically modified foods cause allergies?
Cloning and GMO foods: Jennifer Lapidus gives us the early 2007 update on the science of our dinner plate.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |