If you want to know if the food you’re buying is made with soy or nuts or contains trans-fats, you can turn the package over and find that information easily. But, if you want to know if the food you’re buying is made with genetically engineered ingredients, good luck with that. Right now, foods made with GE ingredients aren’t required to be labeled.


Companies that use genetically engineered (GE) ingredients — or ingredients from genetically modified organisms (GMO) — in their foods don't want to the information on the packaging because they fear people won’t buy the food if they’re aware of the GE ingredients. They may be right. According to Just Label It!, 92 percent of Americans want genetically engineered food labeled in our country just like it is in more than 40 other countries that have mandatory labeling of GE foods.


As I previously told you, the Just Label It! campaign wants to send a petition to the FDA this spring with 1 million signatures on it, requesting they require GE labeling on foods. So far, there are more than 900,000 signatures on the petition (including mine).


Another organization, the Center for Food Safety, has already sent a petition to the FDA requesting the agency to do the same. Food Safety News reports that earlier this week, “45 U.S. representatives and 10 U.S. senators signed a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in support” of the petition.


The letter begins like this.


We write to you in support of a recent legal petition supported by over 400 organizations and businesses, to protect consumer rights and prevent consumer deception by requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods. FDA’s regulatory regime for food labeling is inadequate and uses 19th century concepts to regulate 21st century food technologies.

They certainly jump right to the point, don’t they? I urge you to read the entire letter that goes on to ask the FDA to “do right by the American public.” Also, take a look to see which members of Congress signed the letter. I’m disappointed to see that none of my representatives from New Jersey signed it, and I will be writing to ask them to please join their colleagues in support of GE labeling.


This certainly doesn’t mean that we’re going to see GE labeling anytime soon, but support for the issue is growing and it’s gotten some powerful allies now with this letter.


If you haven’t added your name to the Just Label It! petition, and you’d like to see GE foods labeled, now is the time to sign. Hopefully, the FDA will not be able to ignore the demands from both the public and the politicians for Americans to have the right to know what’s in our food.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Congress gets involved with genetically engineered labeling
55 representatives and senators sign their names in support of a petition that asks the FDA to label genetically engineered or GE foods.