Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Law Looks at Labeling GMO Ingredients

Food that contains genetically modified ingredients would have to be labeled as such under a proposed amendment to a New Mexico state law.

Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, introduced an amendment to the New Mexico Food Act to address what he calls a "common-sense consumer information" issue. He spoke Friday in the Capitol Rotunda to a group of about 30 people supporting the initiative.

While officials in a number of other states have discussed similar proposals, New Mexico would be the first state to adopt such a law.

The labeling rule would apply to all food products that are offered for sale in the state and calls for the information to be "displayed in a manner that is conspicuous and easily understandable by the consumer."

Commercial feed for livestock that is composed of more than one percent of genetically modified materials also would require such a label.

Beverly Idsinga, executive director of the group, which represents about 150 dairies in the southern half of the state, said laws that allow for labeling of organic products already give consumers choice about food ingredients.

"I think it would actually raise food costs in New Mexico," Idsinga said of labeling genetically modified ingredients. "I don't think the larger companies would even sell to New Mexico anymore, just because the cost would be too high for them to have special labels on some of their products."

Idsinga said she believes that while genetically modified plants are viewed as bad by a certain segment of society, they are "still good for America because we have to feed so many more people with what we have now."

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