The campaign for mandatory GMO labeling heats up

GE food graphicToday more than 200 organizations and businesses called on President Barack Obama to uphold his 2007 campaign pledge to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.

AAt a press conference led by Representative DeFazio (D-OR), Congressional leaders spoke out in support of a letter sent to President Obama. Congressional leaders were joined by Center for Food SafetyEnvironmental Working Group (EWG), Just Label It and other supporters of GE labeling.

Other signatories of the letter include Ben & Jerry’s Ice CreamAmy’s KitchenAnnie’s Homegrown, Inc., ApplegateStonyfield Farm and Nature’s Path Foods.

“In 2007, during a campaign stop in Iowa, President Obama pledged to give Americans the right to know whether they are eating genetically engineered food,” said Dave Murphy of Food Democracy Now, who captured then-Senator Obama’s pledge on video. “It’s time for the President to fulfill his commitment.”

Rep. DeFazio and California Senator Boxer introduced legislation in 2013 to compel the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement a mandatory labeling policy. The FDA has the authority to require food companies to disclose the presence of these novel food ingredients, and the agency has already required labeling for more than 3,000 ingredients, additives and food processes.

GMO graphic“In advance of this year’s State of the Union address, we urge President Obama to fulfill his commitment to require GE labeling and to add the U.S. to the list of 64 other nations that have given their consumers the right to know what is in their food,” said Ken Cook, president and co-founder of EWG. “Corporations should not be allowed to withhold this kind of information from the public.”

Gary Hirshberg, chairman and co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, said “This is not an effort to stop GMO’s, nor to mark them with a skull and crossbones—it is simply an exercise of our rights as citizens to know what we are buying and to be able to choose the ways that our foods are grown.”

“National polls show that 93 percent of Americans support GMO labeling,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the Organic Trade Association. “Consumers increasingly want to know how their food is produced.”

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