A pair of U.S. senators Wednesday introduced a bill to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label food containing genetically modified ingredients.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced the bill, dubbed the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act.
Specifically, the Boxer-DeFazio bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to require that genetically engineered food, and foods that contain GE ingredients to be labeled accordingly.
The bill also covers whole foods and processed foods, including fish and seafood. The measure would direct the FDA to write new labeling standards that are consistent with U.S. labeling standards and international standards.
"Americans have the right to know what is in the food they eat so they can make the best choices for their families," Senator Boxer said in a press statement. "This legislation is supported by a broad coalition of consumer groups, businesses, farmers, fishermen and parents who all agree that consumers deserve more – not less – information about the food they buy."
Others supporting the legislation, similar to Boxer, commented that the legislation is about the consumers' right to know.
"When American families purchase food, they deserve to know if that food was genetically engineered in a laboratory," Representative DeFazio said. "This legislation is supported by consumer's rights advocates, family farms, environmental organizations, and businesses, and it allows consumers to make an informed choice."
Currently, the FDA does not label foods with GE ingredients. In a policy statement, the FDA said GE foods are not materially different from other foods.
The legislation follows a 2012 letter from Boxer, DeFazio and 54 Senate and House lawmakers supporting GE labeling. Previous legislation regarding GMO labeling has also appeared in previous farm bill discussion.
Additionally, the bill comes just after a November, 2012, California ballot initiative for GM labeling was voted down by a slim margin.
Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Jon Tester, D-Mont., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., are cosponsors of the Senate bill.
Representatives Jared Polis, D-Colo., Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Chellie Pingree, D-Md., Donna Christensen, D-Virgin Islands, Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Peter Welch, D-Vt., James Moran, D-Va., Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., Don Young, R-Alaska, Jim McDermott, D-Wash., Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Jared Huffman, D-Calif., Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., George Miller, D-Calif., David Cicilline, D-R.I., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Ann Kuster, D-N.H. are cosponsors of the House bill.