Last year, 14 states introduced bills to require GM foods to be labeled as they are in Europe. None passed, but the campaign is spreading.
My monthly (first Sunday) Food Matters column in the San Francisco Chronicle is inspired by California's petition initiative to get labeling of genetically modified foods on the ballot.
I was just handed a petition for a ballot initiative to label genetically modified foods. I signed it, but how come GM foods aren't already labeled?
Labeling GM foods should be a no-brainer. Practically everyone wants them labeled. That's why the Committee for the Right to Know is collecting signatures for a California ballot initiative to require it.
To say that food biotechnology industry supporters oppose this idea is to understate the matter. They think the future of GM foods is at stake. They must believe that if the foods were labeled, nobody would buy them.
If consumers distrust GM foods, the industry has nobody to blame but itself. It has done little to inspire trust.
Labeling promotes trust. Not labeling is undemocratic; it does not allow choice.
As I discuss in my book, Safe Food, I was a member of the Food and Drug Administration's Food Advisory Committee when the agency approved production of the first GM tomato in 1994. As we learned later, the FDA was not asking our opinion. It was using us to gather reactions to decisions already made.