More and more consumer advocate groups and high profile individuals are calling on U.S. congress to support the labeling of genetically modified food and to intervene in efforts to block state GMO labeling laws.
Seven hundred chefs presented a petition, authored by Chef Tom Colicchio, calling on Congress to move forward with legislation sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR),the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, S. 809 and H.R. 1699, respectively, which will require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “clearly label” genetically engineered (GE) foods.
“As chefs, we know that choosing the right ingredients is an absolutely critical part of cooking,” the petition states. “But when it comes to whether our ingredients contain genetically modified organisms, we’re in the dark. It’s time for Congress to move us forward, not backward, when it comes to our right to know what’s in our food.”
“As a chef and father, I want to know what I’m serving my customers and kids, and the majority of Americans want honest information about the food on their tables,” said Chef Colicchio, owner of Craft Restaurants, co-founder of Food Policy Action, and former head judge on Bravo show Top Chef “Having honest, clear labeling of the foods we eat is a fundamental right, one that’s worth fighting for.”
Grassroot activists across the U.S. are combating an initiative led by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), called the DARK ACT by activists. The “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know Act” (DARK Act) by activists, is a bill that would give full authority of GE labeling to FDA, circumventing the right of states to produce their own GE labeling laws. The act will prevent states from adopting their own GE labeling laws, allow food companies to put a “natural” label on products that contain GE ingredients, and prevent FDA from requiring companies to label GE ingredients and continue its current “voluntary” labeling policy.
GE labeling advocates from Food Policy Action, Environmental Working Group, Center for Food Safety, Just Label It and other national organizations fighting for labeling of GMO foods joined the chefs in presenting their petition to congress. “Congress has an opportunity to stand up for the 93 percent of Americans who want to know more about whether their food has been genetically modified,” said Violet Batcha, communications and social media manager for Just Label It. “It’s time to choose the rights of their constituents over the profits of food manufactures and the biotech industry.