Organic Consumers Association

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FDA Must Heed Consumers and Require Labeling of GMO-Laced Foods by Ronnie Cummins

This article was syndicated and appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (MN), Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Corning NY Leader, Grand Forks ND Herald, Billings (MT) Sunday Gazette, Willimantic CT Chronicle, Centre Daily Times/State College (PA), Lawton (OK) Sunday Constitution, Arizona Sunday Sun/Flagstaff, Wapakoneta (OH) Daily News, New Bedford (MA) Standard Times,,,,,,,,,,,,, Biologdische-Groothandel Beginthier.Netherlands,, Janesville WI Gazette, on WCLO AM-FM Beloit/Janesville, and in the Walworth County Today (WI). For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, and our California News page.

FINLAND, MINN. - EDITOR'S NOTE: The writer is addressing the question, "Should the FDA require food manufacturers to label products containing genetically modified organisms?"

Recent national surveys by the Mellman Group and MSNBC, as well as polls conducted over the last two decades, indicate that 90 percent of U.S. consumers want to know whether or not the foods they eat and feed to their families have been genetically engineered.

Concern about the health and environmental effects of genetic engineering continue to grow. Yet the biotech industry, large food manufacturers and retailers have so far blocked efforts to require that any food containing genetically engineered ingredients be labeled.

The European Union and 22 other nations have GMO labeling laws. More than a million Americans recently sent a petition to the Food and Drug Administration demanding mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

On May 2 a petition was filed by a million registered voters in California that will put mandatory GMO food labeling on the ballot Nov. 6. The law will also ban the routine industry practice of labeling or marketing GMO-tainted foods as "natural."

Why do the overwhelming majority of Americans want labeling on foods gene-spliced with bacteria, viruses, antibiotic-resistant marker genes and foreign DNA?

Because millions of us don't believe they're safe. Americans want labels because the FDA acknowledges that they conduct no safety studies of GMOs before allowing them on the market, but rather rely on the word of biotech companies that these foods are safe.

Americans want labels because GMO health disasters, emergencies or near disasters have already occurred. In 1989, 39 people died and thousands were disabled from a disease called eosonophil myalgia syndrome, which was traced to a genetically engineered supplement commonly found in health food stores.

In 1996, the government banned dangerously allergenic soybeans that had been gene-spliced with Brazil nut DNA. In 2000, the FDA recalled billions of dollars worth of food products containing GMO corn that was linked to severe allergic reactions.

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