In February, senators Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, Barbara Boxer from California and representative Peter DeFazio reintroduced legislation to get genetically modified food labeled by food manufacturers and distributors. The Genetically Engineered Right to Know Act would require all food companies in the US to label food that use GMO ingredients.
Barbara Boxer believes that consumer have a right to know what they are eating and their children too. Over 60 countries label these foods so why should the United States be different? FDA currently supports voluntary labeling of GMO foods as it believes there is no research to support that is much different than regular food. Most consumer want to know what they are eating and demand to see labels.
A group called Just Label It has collected over 1.4 million signatures on its petition to label GMO foods. This organization promotes labeling around the world. Many business, farmers, consumer advocates, food and farming organizations, healthcare organizations, and parents belong to this group. A House of Agriculture Committee says that GMO labeling will raise the cost of food. Yet, overall the prices of labels has no real bearing on food prices.
Another fallacy is that an elaborate system will have to be created to seperate GMO food from non GMO food. This is already done in the supply chain of food . Overall, most consumers will still buy the GMO products even when they are on the label. Products like corn, soy, sugar beets, and canola oil are used to make high fructose corn syrup, xanthan gum, and absorbic acid. They are often grown from GMO altered seeds. Product that are free from GMO may sell better with some consumers than others.
Many legislators are supporting the GMO labeling in their states. Massachusetts has many organizations and legislators jumping on the band wagon. In some states the GMO labeling has been shot down and in other like CT they have passed a form of GMO labeling that they hope to see other states follow.
The demand for product that don’t have any GMO modified ingredients is growing too. This is especially true among the health conscious. It has given rise to companies having products tested and receiving a certifications they don’t have GMO ingredients. One independent organization that does this is the Non-GMO Project. Some consumers and food companies do not think GMO labeling is important.
Overall the debate on GMO labeling will continue from state to state and by different individuals in the food industry among companies, processors, farmers, supermarkets, distributors, and growers.
Local citizens in Connecticut that want to find become more active in GMO labeling can visit the GMO Free CT for more information and local events.