Last week the Center for Food Safety filed a formal legal petition with FDA demanding that the agency require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The petition was the result of many months of legal work and raises several arguments showing why FDA must change its current policy and require labeling. Now, we are spearheading a drive with over 350 other organizations and businesses in the Just Label It! Campaign, to direct one million comments to the FDA in support of our petition.
Unsuspecting consumers by the tens of millions are being allowed to purchase and consume unlabeled genetically engineered foods, despite the fact that FDA undertakes no testing of its own, instead relying only on a voluntary consultation with industry and confidential industry data to assure safety. Internal FDA documents discovered in prior CFS litigation actually indicated the foods could pose serious risks, but those views were overruled.
Currently, up to 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered, as are 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton (cottonseed oil is often used in food products). According to industry, up to 95% of sugar beets are now GE, although the decision to commercialize GE sugar is currently under legal challenge by CFS. It has been estimated that upwards of 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients.
Genetically engineered foods are required to be labeled in the 15 European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world. The United States is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling of GE food!
In America, we pride ourselves on having choices and making informed decisions. Under current FDA regulations, we don’t have that choice when it comes to GE ingredients in the foods we purchase and feed our families. In fact, a recent poll released by ABC News found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. As ABC News stated, “Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare.”
Americans have been asking Congress to pass a labeling law for more than 10 years, to no avail. It’s time to take the fight back to FDA—bigger and louder than ever before.