Food Safety Corn Field

Published on December 8th, 2011 | by Heather Carr

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Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act – H.R. 3553

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Last week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act (H.R. 3553). The legislation would require labeling for genetically engineered foods.

The intent of the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act is:

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, and the Poultry Products Inspection Act to require that food that contains a genetically engineered material, or that is produced with a genetically engineered material, be labeled accordingly.

What Is a Genetically Engineered Organism?

According to the act, the term “genetically engineered organism” includes both animals and plants that have been “altered at the molecular or cellular level by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes” and also the natural offspring of such organisms.

Food, whether raw or processed, that contains an ingredient that has been genetically modified will need to be labeled. Products made from animals that are not genetically modified (meat, eggs, dairy, etc.), but which have been fed genetically engineered food will also need to be labeled.

Reasons to Label Genetically Engineered Food

We want to know. Polls consistently show that Americans want to know what’s in our food. From an accurate list of ingredients to nutritional information to potential allergies, we like to have that information at our fingertips.

Economic considerations. Other countries are adopting mandatory labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods. For our farmers and food processors to maintain a competitive edge, tracking and labeling of genetically engineered products should start as soon as possible.

Where is the Bill Now?

Right now, the act is sitting in two committees – the House Agriculture committee and the House Energy and Commerce committee.

The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act was submitted with twelve co-sponsors.

  • Rep. Raul Grijalva [D, AZ-7]
  • Rep. Barbara Lee [D, CA-9]
  • Rep. James Moran [D, VA-8]
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree [D, ME-1]
  • Rep. Jared Polis [D, CO-2]
  • Rep. Louise Slaughter [D, NY-28]
  • Rep. Jackie Speier [D, CA-12]
  • Rep. Fortney Stark [D, CA-13]
  • Rep. Michael Thompson [D, CA-1]
  • Rep. Maxine Waters [D, CA-35]
  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D, CA-6]
  • Rep. Donald Young [R, AK-0]

If your representative isn’t on there, you might want to give them a call or write them a letter to let them know how you feel about the bill. Writing your elected representatives is the best way to get this bill noticed and moving through these committees.

Find your elected representative.

Image by BKM_BR, used with Creative Commons license.

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About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .



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