Coalition wants GMO labeling overseen by FDA

Published online: Feb 17, 2014
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A coalition has been formed to push for a federal solution to labeling products containing genetically modified ingredients.

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food wants a common labeling solution from coast to coast to avoid a patchwork of separate state labeling rules. Pam Bailey, the CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a member of the coalition, says such a standard should be overseen by the Food and Drug Administration.

"We believe the FDA should have sole authority over the decision to require mandatory labeling of any food, but especially those with GM ingredients," said Bailey, during a conference call with reporters. "A Federal GM labeling solution will eliminate consumer confusion, avoid an unnecessary and confusing 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws."

Martin Barbre, president of the National Corn Growers Association, another member of the coalition, echoes the need for a federal standard.

"The FDA and other food safety agencies both here in the U.S. and across the world, have evaluated the use of genetically modified ingredients and determined that they pose no health risks to America's families," said Barbre. "In fact, not a single scientific study has shown GM technology to be materially different from foods grown without GM."

American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser said during the call that if a federal labeling solution is not agreed to and even a few of the state labeling initiatives pass, it would be a big problem for growers.

He cited Missouri specifically, because it's bordered by eight states that could conceivably adopt as many different labeling standards, disrupting the supply chain of a grower.

The coalition says that a federal GMO labeling solution would eliminate confusion, advance food safety, inform consumers and provide consistency.