In recent years, several states have considered laws mandating special labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GM0s). Now, Congress appears another step closer to establishing a national standard. In late March, a bipartisan group of U.S. House members reintroduced the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which never got beyond the committee level in the last session of Congress. The new measure places full responsibility on FDA to review genetically engineered food ingredients and decide whether the product should bear the “contains GMOs” label. If passed, the law would preempt GMO label laws enacted at the state level. The food industry appears firmly behind the proposed legislation.
“A uniform standard will bring the clarity desired by consumers while ensuring they have direct access to fact-based, accurate information about how their food is grown, which is just not possible through conflicting state-by-state labeling laws,” says Brett Blankenship, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG).
Blankenship says GMOs have been proven safe in nearly 2,000 studies by the most authoritative scientific bodies in the world, including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association. Without a national law, he says a patchwork of mandatory state labeling laws will confuse consumers and drive up food prices.