On March 28, 2012, the “Just Label It” Campaign delivered over one million comments to the FDA in support of labeling genetically engineered foods. The record-breaking set of public comments was amassed in just 180 days.
According to a survey of about 1,000 voters released earlier this week, 91 percent of consumers support labeling of GMO foods. Despite this overwhelming show of support for mandatory labeling, so far the FDA has refused to act.
Although the FDA has declined to discuss the petition specifically, a spokeswoman did say that their position on GMO food labeling is based on the premise that there is no “material difference” between foods containing ingredients from genetically modified crops and foods made from conventional crops. The FDA has maintained the stance that labeling is unnecessary since 2009. But the majority of Americans disagree.
Unsurprisingly, Monsanto and other agricultural biotech seed companies oppose labeling, claiming it misleads consumers into thinking there is a safety issue with GMOs (when clearly there isn’t?) Other opponents believe mandatory labeling would be costly, raising food prices for consumers.
But consumers are demanding GMO labeling good reason. A recent study by the Grocery Manufacturers Association said about 80 percent of packaged foods contain genetically engineered ingredients. The U.S. is now one of only a handful of developed nations that does not require labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Although the FDA hasn’t shown signs of budging, 20 states are reportedly considering requiring their own legislation. For now, it looks like state-level action may be the most effective way to get involved.
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