The U.S. Food and Drug Administration objects to Oregon's ballot Measure 27, which would require labeling to identify genetically modified foods sold in Oregon.
In an Oct. 4 letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber, FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester M. Crawford argued that labeling of genetically modified foods is not only unnecessary, but contrary to FDA guidelines. From Our Advertiser
"FDA's scientific evaluation of bioengineered foods continues to show that these foods, as currently marketed in the United States, are as safe as their conventional counterparts," Crawford wrote.
"Moreover," he said, "mandatory labeling to disclose that a product was produced through genetic engineering does not promote the public health in that it fails to provide material facts concerning the safety or nutritional aspects of food and may be misleading to consumers."
If Measure 27 passes, Oregon would become the first state to mandate labeling on genetically modified foods.
As much as 70 percent of the processed foods consumed in the United States contain some genetically altered ingredient. The FDA does not require special labeling of those foods, though genetically modified foods must meet the same safety standards as their conventionally bred counterparts, the agency says.
Reached late Monday, Crawford said it is not particularly unusual for the FDA to weigh in on a state ballot issue. He was unsure whether the FDA would take any further action beyond the unsolicited letter to Kitzhaber.