Last week, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced a national bill to label genetically engineered food.
If passed, the "Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act" making its way through both the House and Senate would ensure GE food is labeled in all 50 states. The national bill reflects the momentum that's been building for GE labeling initiatives in states across the country.
Public support for GE labeling is strong. Polls show that more than 90% of Americans favor the idea. And legislative support for the federal bill is growing, with nine Senators and 21 Representatives signing on so far as co-sponsors.
Sixty-four countries around the world already require labeling of GE foods, including Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, China and 15 nations in the European Union. But here in the U.S., industry opposition has managed to thwart all labeling initiatives to date.
Speaking at a press event today in her home district, Senator Boxer noted:
"We deserve to have the right to know what’s in the foods we eat. If these companies believe in their products, they should have nothing to fear."
It's clear that the "Big 6" pesticide and biotech corporations don't want GE labeling to become law the of the land. Last fall, Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and DuPont spent $21 million to defeat California's GE labeling ballot initiative, Proposition 37.
And through campaign contributions, well-financed lobbying efforts and back-door pressure, the Big 6 have also thwarted labeling efforts in other states. Most recently, they blocked bills in New Mexico and Colorado.
Why do Monsanto & Co. oppose labeling GE food? Because they fear losing market share if consumers knew just how much of our food — up to 80% of non-organic products on grocery store shelves — includes GE ingredients. As PAN's senior scientist Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman explains:
"The Big 6 patent and sell GE seeds, and these crops drive up the use of pesticides — pesticides produced by the very same corporations. Monsanto & Co. want to keep consumers in the dark to protect the markets GE crops create for their products."
Regardless of industry opposition, it's time to label GE food in the U.S. We have a right to know what's in our food, and how it's grown. And with support for the federal bill from both sides of the aisle, GE labeling could be a reality very soon.
Take action» Contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to support the "Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act." Make sure your legislators know how important this issue is to you! We can win this one, but it will take all of us working together.