Congress must uphold highest standard in labeling, as modeled by Vermont and Campbell’s
WASHINGTON, DC—Center for Food Safety today applauded Campbell’s Soup Company for its decision to label those of its products that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Campbell’s is the first major U.S. company to so. In addition, the company endorsed national mandatory on-package GE labeling, breaking with the rest of its industry, which has aggressively attempted to stop GE food labeling.
“Campbell’s has recognized that consumers value transparency from food companies, and that they have the right to know what is in their food. If a company like Campbell’s can take this step to label their food accurately, then there is no reason the rest of the industry can’t follow suit,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.
The announcement comes as the food and biotechnology industries have been working furiously, both in the courts and in Congress, to block labeling at the state level. Vermont GE labeling law is scheduled to go into effect in July and would be the first of its kind. The industry has sought action by Congress that would preempt states from requiring labeling of GE foods, while at the same time also blocking the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to requiring labeling at the federal level. Such a bill passed in the House of Representatives this summer and reports indicate that industry is seeking to get a similar bill introduced this month in the Senate.
“With Campbell’s setting strong example of the way forward, we must ensure that any bill in Congress meet these same high standards, and those of the Vermont law. Anything less than mandatory, on-package labeling should be rejected,” said Kimbrell. “Bar code readers and other web-based tactics only serve to bury information and do not meet the fundamental goal of reducing consumer deception.”
By an overwhelming margin, American voters say consumers should have the right to know if their food is genetically modified, with 89 percent in support of mandatory GE labeling, according to a new national poll. Nearly the same number of consumers would like to see the labels in an easy to read format. According to a report conducted on behalf of Consumers Union, the public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, the median increased cost of mandatory GE food labeling was less than a penny a day per person.