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20 Years of GMO Policy That Keeps Americans in the Dark About Their Food

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, and our USDA Watch page.

Dan Quayle and Michael Taylor's nightmare lives on

Popular resistance is boiling over on the GMO labeling issue, as the New York Times reported last week in a front-page story.

More than a million people have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food on a legal petition in March and on May 2, nearly a million voter signatures were submitted in California to place a GMO labeling initiative on ballot in November. Clearly, Americans believe strongly in their right to know what's in their food. Ninety percent of U.S. voters want this type of labeling. Yet we still don't have it. Why?

Twenty years ago this week, then-Vice President Dan Quayle announced the FDA's policy on genetically engineered food as part of his "regulatory relief initiative." The policy, Quayle explained, was based on the idea that genetic engineering is no different than traditional plant breeding, and therefore required no new regulations.

Five years earlier, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush visited a Monsanto lab for a photo op with the developers of Roundup Ready crops. According to a video report of the meeting, when Monsanto executives worried about the approval process for their new crops, Bush laughed and told them, "Call me. We're in the dereg businesses. Maybe we can help."


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