Labeling Genetically Modified Foods

Should we or should we not label genetically-modified ingredients in our food?

Most people like to know what’s in their food, whether it’s the basic ingredients, the nutrient content of the final product, or even how it’s grown.

Accurate ingredients lists and nutrition facts are required by law. Legislation requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods is the logical next step.

In past sessions of Congress, Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has submitted legislation to require labeling genetically engineered organisms. Last year, he submitted three pieces of legislation relevant to genetically modified organisms. All three expired when the 111th session of Congress ended in December.

In order to get these laws on the books, Rep. Kucinich would need to start by re-submitting them to Congress. He hasn’t done that, likely because he doesn’t perceive much interest in the topic. With many polls through the years showing over 90% of Americans want GMOs labeled, this legislation will have broad support.

Labeling Laws for GMOs

The three bills submitted by Rep. Kucinich last year were:

Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act (H.R. 5577 in the 111th session) – This act was intended β€œto amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, and the Poultry Product Inspection Act to require that food that contains a genetically engineered material, or that is produced with a genetically engineered material, be labeled accordingly.”

Genetically Engineered Pharmaceutical and Industrial Crop Safety Act (H.R. 5578 in the 111th session) – This act was intended β€œto prohibit the open-air cultivation of genetically engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops, to prohibit the use of common human food or animal feed as the host plant for a genetically engineered pharmaceutical or industrial chemical, to establish a tracking system to regulate the growing, handling, transportation, and disposal of pharmaceutical and industrial crops and their byproducts to prevent human, animal, and general environmental exposure to genetically engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops and their byproducts, to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the safety of genetically engineered foods, and for other purposes.

Genetically Engineered Organism Liability Act (H.R. 5579 in the 111th session) – This act was intended β€œto provide additional protections for farmers and ranchers that may be harmed economically by genetically engineered seeds, plants, or animals, to ensure fairness for farmers and ranchers in their dealings with biotech companies that sell genetically engineered seeds, plants, or animals, to assign liability for injury caused by genetically engineered organisms, and for other purposes.”

What Can You Do?

Call or write Representative Kucinich and ask him to consider submitting those three bills. Mention that they were submitted during the 111th and give the bill’s name and number. Congress returns from their August recess next week, so his staff will have enough time to prepare.

Rep. Kucinich has three offices you can contact him through.

Lakewood Office
14400 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Phone (216)228-8850
Fax (216)228-6465

Parma Office
Parmatown Mall
7904 Day Drive
Parma, Ohio 44129

Phone (440)845-2707
Fax (440)845-2743

Washington Office
2445 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Phone (202)225-5871
Fax (202)225-5745

You can also email him from his contact page. You need your zip code +4 to send an email, and you can find your +4 here.

Image by photosteve101, used with Creative Commons license.

Written by Heather Carr

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