Sunday, July 13, 2014

Letter to Oregon Governor Supporting Mandatory Labeling of Foods Using Genetic Engineering | Consumers Union

Letter to Oregon Governor Supporting Mandatory Labeling of Foods Using Genetic Engineering | Consumers Union:

This letter explains why Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) supports Measure 27, the ballot initiative that would require mandatory labeling of foods and food additives produced using genetic engineering sold in Oregon, or produced in Oregon.
First and foremost, consumers have a fundamental right to know what they are eating. Many laws, at the federal, state and even local level, are designed to inform consumers of facts they want to know about food. These include laws that require labeling of juice made from concentrate, milk that is homogenized, imported food as to its country of origin, food that is frozen or irradiated, as well as ingredients and additives. All these foods are regarded as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, this information is required to be given to consumers at the point of purchase because consumers care and want to know about these aspects of food. With this information, they are able to make informed choices for themselves and their families.

We thus disagree with the thrust of the letter sent to you on October 4, 2002, by FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester M. Crawford. Unlike FDA, we think the differences between genetically engineered food and non-engineered traditional foods are significant. We believe that FDA should have required labeling of genetically engineered food as a material fact under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. Indeed, several years ago more than 50 members of Congress sent a letter to the FDA Commissioner agreeing that genetic engineering is a material fact under the FDCA.

NOTE: On October 17, 2006, Lester M. Crawford pled guilty to a conflict of interest and false reporting of information about stocks he owned in food, beverage and medical device companies he was in charge of regulating. He received a sentence of three years of supervised probation and a fine of about $90,000.

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