Barbara Boxer Introduces Bill for Mandatory Labeling
of GE Foods in US Senate
Americans have the right to know if their food is genetically engineered.

February 8, 2000

Dear Colleague:

When Congress returns from the Presidents Day recess, I plan to introduce
the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act. I hope that you will
cosponsor this important legislation to require that all foods containing or
produced with genetically engineered material bear a neutral label
indicating that fact.

Recent polls have demonstrated that Americans want to know if they are
eating genetically engineered food. A January 1999 Time magazine poll
revealed that 81% of respondents wanted genetically engineered food to be
labeled. A January 2000 MSNBC poll showed identical results. The European
Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan already require genetically
engineered food to be labeled.

Last year, 98.6 million acres in the U.S. were planted with genetically
engineered crops. More than a third of the U.S. soybean crop, one-quarter of
corn and a third of cotton were genetically engineered. While this
represents a 23-fold increase in genetically engineered crop production from
just four years ago, the health and environmental effects of genetically
engineered food are not yet known.

Given the rapid expansion of this largely untested technology, we should
provide consumers with the right to know whether they are eating genetically
engineered food. Congress has already provided consumers similar rights by
requiring the labeling of foods containing artificial colors and flavors,
chemical preservatives and artificial sweeteners.

Labeling genetically engineered food would not be unprecedented for the U.S.
In fact, as part of a recent 131-nation agreement to regulate trade in
genetically engineered crops, the U.S. agreed to label its international
shipments of seeds, grains and plants that may contain genetically
engineered material. If we can provide this information to our trading
partners, shouldn t we make similar information available to American

Please join me in providing American families with the right to decide
whether or not to eat genetically engineered food. For more information,
please contact Lisa Moore of my staff at 224-3553.


Barbara Boxer, United States Senator

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