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Cincinnati Passes Resolution Requiring GE Food Labeling

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

Yesterday, the city of Cincinnati became the first in Ohio to pass a resolution to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, citing that consumers should have the right to know what is in their food. The consumer advocacy organization Food & Water Watch brought the resolution to city council as a part of their "Let Me Decide" campaign to make GE labeling the law. GE foods have not been fully tested for their impacts on human health and the environment.

Alison Auciello, Ohio-based organizer for Food & Water Watch said, "genetically engineered foods are potentially unsafe, and consumers should have the right to decide for themselves if they want to eat GE foods. It took regulation to get food processors to label ingredients and nutrition facts on labels, and now we're calling for federal lawmakers to require the labeling of GE food."

The majority of processed foods are genetically engineered, but unlike fat, sodium and sugar content, labels do not disclose which foods contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Biotechnology companies submit their own safety-testing data, and independent research is limited on GE foods because licensing agreements that control the use of patented seeds prohibit cultivation for research purposes.

Genetically engineered foods are made by inserting the genetic material from one organism into another to achieve a desired characteristic such as resistance to herbicides or pesticides. Roundup Ready varieties of corn, for example, are engineered to withstand treatment with the Roundup herbicide. But, the unintended consequence of increased use of herbicides has been a rise in "superweeds," aggressive weed species like ragweed and pigweed that have become immune to Roundup.

Cincinnati Council Member and resolution co-sponsor Wendell Young said, "this is about transparency, about ensuring that people can make informed choices about what they feed themselves and their families. Consumers have a right to know what is in their food, especially until we know for certain whether genetically engineered foods are truly safe." 


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