Monsanto and Big Food can try every which way to spin their claim that genetically engineered food is no different. But Americans aren’t buying it.
Nine out of 10 consumers (92 percent) want to know on the label if their food is genetically engineered, according to Consumer Reports latest national poll. That same percentage of Americans want GE food to meet government safety standards before being sold, and GE salmon — which could hit the market soon – to be labeled.
In any arena, that’s a slam-dunk mandate for labeling.
These latest numbers come as many states, including Massachusetts, Colorado and New York, are considering laws requiring mandatory labeling of GE food. And Oregon residents this fall will vote on a ballot measure to do the same, after two counties in the state banned GE crops earlier this year.
Consumers are demanding labeling, and lawmakers and the FDA are having to respond. So it’s no surprise anti-labeling forces are grasping at straws to keep us in the dark and block labeling laws. This month, the powerful Grocery Manufacturer Association – supported by food giants like Kellogg and ConAgra — filed suit to block the very first labeling law in the nation in Vermont.
In a display of how tone-deaf industry is to what consumers want, the lobby group wrote in filing the suit, “Vermont policymakers cannot merely act as a pass-through for the fads and controversies of the day. It must point to a truly ‘governmental’ interest, not just a political one.”
Having the right to know what is in our food is not a ‘fad.’ Sixty-four countries around the world already require GE foods be labeled, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Australia, Brazil, India – even Russia and China.
And for decades our own federal laws require labeling of foods if they are pasteurized, homogenized, frozen, from concentrate, or irradiated. Adding GE labeling to this list is simply giving consumers the right to make an informed choice.
Consumers Union will be standing with Vermont to fight this lawsuit, continue to work in states to get labeling laws passed, and keep pushing a bill before Congress to give every American the right to know (you can send a quick email of support to your lawmakers in Washington, D.C. here).