Thursday, January 31, 2013

Food Companies Meet to Weigh Federal Label for Gene-Engineered Ingredients -

Food Companies Meet to Weigh Federal Label for Gene-Engineered Ingredients -

With Washington State on the verge of a ballot initiative that would require labeling of some foods containing genetically engineered ingredients and other states considering similar measures, some of the major food companies and Wal-Mart, the country’s largest grocery store operator, have been discussing lobbying for a national labeling program. 

Instead of quelling the demand for labeling, the defeat of the California measure has spawned a ballot initiative in Washington State and legislative proposals in Connecticut, Vermont, New Mexico and Missouri, and a swelling consumer boycott of some organic or “natural” brands owned by major food companies.
Mr. Hirshberg, who attended the January meeting, said he knew of roughly 20 states considering labeling requirements. 

“The big food companies found themselves in an uncomfortable position after Prop. 37, and they’re talking among themselves about alternatives to merely replaying that fight over and over again,” said Charles Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University who attended the meeting. 

“We’re at a point where, this summer, families could be sitting at their tables and wondering whether the salmon and sweet corn they’re about to eat has been genetically modified,” said Trudy Bialic, director of public affairs at PCC Natural Markets in Seattle. “The fish has really accelerated concerns.”

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