Congress to FDA: Label Genetically Engineered Foods

[ 0 ] March 18, 2012 |

Genetically modified food under fire as 55 senators and congressmen call on FDA to properly label altered food; Healthy Child Healthy World’s Rachel Sarnoff weighs in

Afraid of what may be added to your food that could be harmful to your health? Many people are, and they want the U.S. government to do something about it.

Fifty-five U.S. senators and congressmen on Monday sent a letter to Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), supporting a legal petition launched by more than 400 organizations and businesses  to protect consumer rights and prevent consumer deception by requiring the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.

“FDA’s regulatory regime for food labeling is inadequate and uses 19th-century concepts to regulate 21st-century food technologies,” the letter states, noting that more than 50 other countries require labeling of genetically engineered food. “At issue is the fundamental right consumers have to make informed choices about the food they eat. Labeling foods doesn’t imply a product is unsafe or will be confusing to consumers as some may argue. …Absent labeling, Americans are unable to choose for themselves whether to purchase GE foods.”

Related: The Danger of Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically engineered or modified foods have been unnaturally altered at the molecular level. The DNA from different sources or even different species are combined together to create a new set of genes that are thought to confer an advantage, such as more rapid growth or resistance to cold, explains Rachel Sarnoff, the Executive Director/CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, the non-profit that leads the movement to protect children from harmful chemicals.

Sarnoff notes that a poll conducted by ABC News last June found 93 percent of people think the government should require labels on genetically modified foods, and 52 percent believe genetically modified foods are unsafe. Meanwhile, states are also taking up the cause and introducing legislation themselves to require labels on GE foods.

Related: 4 Steps Men Can Take to Reduce Infertility Risk

Rachel Sarnoff

“We have a right to know what is in our food. We have a right to make informed choices and decisions about the kinds of food we feed our families. Without a label, we simply can’t exercise these rights,” Sarnoff says. “And a fish might no longer be just a fish.”

The “Just Label It” online petition now has 900,000 signees, with hopes of reaching 1 million

by spring. This petition calls on the FDA to label GE foods. Just Label It also offers 8 things you can do if you’re concerned about GE foods, including:

1. Eat fresh fresh vegetables and unprocessed foods.

2. Avoid the five products that are most likely to be genetically engineered (GE) – unless they state that they are not made with genetically engineered ingredients: Corn, Soy, Canola, Cotton and Sugar made from beets (sugar from cane is NOT GE).

3. Look for the USDA Organic seal and buy organic.

Related: The Future of Fish

What are your thoughts on genetically modified foods? Should these foods require labels? Tell us below!

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Category: Health, Nutrition, Views on the News

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