A group made up of over 200 organizations including food companies, organic farming and environmental groups have signed a letter urging President Obama to enact labelling laws highlighting products that contain genetically modified ingredients.
“While we continue to support state-level labeling efforts, we believe there should be a mandatory national labelling system,” the letter said. “The FDA has a duty to act when the absence of labelling would leave consumers confused about the foods they buy. Mr. President, we urge you to fulfill your commitment to require GE labeling and to add the United States of America to the list of 64 nations that have already given their consumers the right to know what is in their food. In your first Presidential memorandum, you said that transparency is essential for ensuring public trust. We couldn't agree more.”
The call is also being backed by a number of Democratic members of Congress.
Ben & Jerry's, Annie’s, Stonyfield Farms, Dr. Bronner’s and Eden Foods are among the brands behind the letter, along with NGOs including Greenpeace, As You Sow and Green America, which celebrated two victories this month after both General Mills and Post agreed to make their classic Cheerios and Grape Nuts cereals, respectively, GMO-free.
Meanwhile, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents 300 food companies, is also calling on Congress and the FDA to enact a federal standard for voluntary GMO labeling, in lieu of individual state requirements.
In August, a group of biotech seed companies including Monsanto, Dow and DuPont also weighed in on the debate by launching a website called GMOAnswers.com to combat misinformation surrounding GMOs, which the group contends is contributing to confusion and mounting opposition among consumer groups and activists.
Over a dozen US states are considering legislation to mandate the labelling of foods made with GM corn, soybeans, sugar beets and other biotech crops. So far, food manufacturers have fought against mandatory labelling, arguing that GMO crops pose no safety risk – and labelling would merely confuse and misinform consumers.