49 Members of the US Congress Send Letter to FDA
Demanding Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

Here is the letter to FDA requesting labeling of genetically engineered
food sent by Rep. David Bonior and 48 other members of Congress. Signers
are listed below:

November 5, 1999
Commissioner Jane. E. Henney
Food and Drug Administration
Parklawn Building, Room 1471
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20857

Dear Commissioner Henney:

We share your commitment to ensuring that the
U.S. food supply is the safest and
most reliable in the world, and applaud your
good work in that regard. We are,
however, deeply concerned about the Food and
Drug Administration's (FDA) failure
to require the labeling of genetically
engineered or modified foods. We are
respectfully asking that the FDA reverse its
course and require the labeling of these

We believe that the labeling provisions of the
Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA),
which are intended to ensure that consumers are
provided thorough information and
are not misled about the characteristics of
their food, require the FDA to label
genetically engineered or modified foods. We
therefore believe the current FDA
policy regarding genetically engineered or
modified foods is flawed. Without labeling
and ensuring the right-to-know, consumers'
interests are not adequately protected.

As you may know, there is overwhelming public
support for the labeling of these food
products. Despite a Time magazine poll showing
that 81% of Americans want
genetically engineered or modified foods
labeled, the biotechnology industry and the
FDA have kept these foods on the shelf without
labeling or mandatory pre-market
safety testing. It is particularly disconcerting
that the effect of recombining the DNA for
nearly 70% of all foods in U.S. stores is
essentially unknown. The failure of the FDA to
require labeling withholds vital information
from consumers and is contrary to the
intent and scope of the FDCA.

With these thoughts in mind, we again
respectfully ask the FDA to reverse its course
of action and institute requirements for the
labeling of all genetically engineered and
modified foods as required by current statute.

Thank you for your attention to this important
food safety and consumer protection
matter. We look forward to hearing from you.


Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
David E. Bonier (D-MI)
Michael Capuano (D-MA) William Clay (D-MO)
John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR) William Delahunt (D-MA)
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Mike Doyle (D-PA)
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD)
Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY)
Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (D-MI)
Jerry Kleczka (D-WI)
Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH)
Tom Lantos (D-CA)
John Lewis (D-GA)
William O. Lipinski (D-IL)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
James H. Maloney (D-CT)
Edward J. Markey (D-MA)
Matthew G. Martinez (D-CA)
Frank R. Mascara (D-PA)
Jim McDermott (D-WI)
James P. McGovern (D-MA)
Marty Meehan (D-MA)
Jack Metcalf (R-WA)
George Miller (D-CA)
Patsy T. Mink (D-HI)
Jarrold Nadler (D-NY)
John W. Olver (D-MA)
Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)
Lynn Rivers (D-MI)
Steven R. Rothman (D-NJ)
Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL)
Christopher Shays (R-CT)
Fortney Stark (D-CA)
Mike Thompson (D-CA)
Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Anthony David Weiner (D-NY)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

Friday, November 5, 1999 Joseph Mendelson,
Center for Food Safety, 202/547-9359
Richard Caplan, U.S. PIRG, 202/546-9707x329
Bob Roth, The Natural Law Party, 202/251-7014


Washington, D.C. * Members of Congress today called on the Food and Drug
Administration to require labeling of genetically engineered food,
declaring the issue an important food safety and consumer protection matter.

In a letter sent to the FDA today, Rep. David Bonior (D-MI) and a
bipartisan group of more than 47 representatives called the current FDA
policy of not requiring labels for these foods flawed. The signers
conclude that existing law requires the FDA to provide thorough information
to consumers.

"American consumers have the right to know what is in the food they eat,
and that is the intent of the law already on the books," said Mark
Silbergeld of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports Magazine.

The letter to FDA comes before FDA public hearings to gauge consumer
concern about genetically engineered food. The hearings are set for
Chicago on Nov. 18, Washington, D.C., on Nov. 30, and Oakland, Calif., on
Dec. 13. The letter also reaches the Clinton Administration as it readies
for the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle beginning Nov. 29,
where international trade disputes over genetically engineered food will be
a centerpiece of negotiations.

Congress had been encouraged to take action by a diverse alliance,
including religious organizations, farm groups, consumer groups, and
environmentalists. "We stand united in our call on the FDA to immediately
institute labeling of genetically engineered foods," said Richard Caplan,
environmental advocate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Organizations that sent letters to Congress supporting Bonior's action
include: Adrian Dominican Sisters o American Corn Growers Association o
Catholic Healthcare West o Center for Food Safety o Citizens for Health o
Consumers Choice Council o Consumers Union o Friends of the Earth o
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy o Mothers and Others for a
Livable Planet o National Family Farm Coalition o The Natural Law Party o
Organic Consumers Association o Sierra Club o Union of Concerned Scientists
o U.S. PIRG o Women's Cancer Research Center

In July, the Natural Law Party delivered more than 500,000 signatures on a
petition to Congress and the president calling for GE foods to be labeled
as such. "We are grateful for Rep. Bonior's leadership in addressing this
issue," said Laura Ticciati of the Natural Law Party. "Poll after poll
clearly shows that the American public wants genetically engineered foods

FDA is already facing a lawsuit challenging its failure to require
pre-market safety testing, labeling and full environmental review. The
suit was filed by the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, Center for Food Safety,
scientists, and members of major religious organizations. Joseph
Mendelson, legal director of Center for Food Safety and lead attorney on
the case, stated, "Today's letter acknowledges that Congress intended the
federal labeling requirements to apply to situations like genetically
engineered foods. The FDA can't turn a blind eye to action in Congress and
the courts."

For a copy of the Bonior letter go to www.foe.org/safefood