Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Food industry seeks voluntary GMO labeling

Modified Foods Labels

FILE - This June 16, 2011 file photo shows boxes of Cheerios in a store in Akron, N.Y. Large food companies are trying to head off state-by-state efforts to enact mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients by proposing new voluntary labels nationwide. The food industry and farm groups are pushing Congress to pass legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration to create guidelines for the new labels, which food manufacturers could use. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

By
From page A8 | February 07, 2014 | 2 Comments

WASHINGTON — People who want to know more about genetically modified ingredients in their food would be able to get it on some packages, but not others, under a plan the industry is pushing.

Large food companies worried they might be forced to add “genetically modified” to packaging are proposing voluntary labeling of those engineered foods, so the companies could decide whether to use them or not.

The effort is an attempt to head off state-by-state efforts to require mandatory labeling. Recent ballot initiatives in California and Washington state failed, but several state legislatures are considering labeling requirements, and opponents of engineered ingredients are aggressively pushing for new laws in several states.

The move comes as consumers demand to know more about what’s in their food. There’s very little science that says genetically engineered foods are unsafe. But opponents say there’s too much unknown about seeds that are altered in labs to have certain traits, and that consumers have a right to know if they are eating them. The seeds are engineered for a variety of reasons, many of them to resist herbicides or insects.

Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the food industry’s main trade group, said the decision on labels should rest with the Food and Drug Administration, which is set up to assess the safety of foods.

“It does not serve national food safety policy to leave these issues to political campaigns,” she said.

The grocery manufacturers announced a partnership with 28 farm and food industry groups Thursday to push for the legislation. The groups include the National Corn Growers Association, the National Restaurant Association and the National Beverage Association, all industries that have seen pushback from consumers over modified ingredients.

The groups say mandatory labels would mislead consumers into thinking that engineered ingredients are unsafe.

The state laws could also create a complicated patchwork of labeling laws that would “increase, rather than reduce, consumer confusion,” said Kraig Naasz of the American Frozen Food Institute, another member of the coalition.

The industries are lobbying members of Congress to introduce and pass a bill that would require FDA to create a voluntary label that would take precedence over any state laws. They are also pushing for FDA to do a safety review of new genetically engineered ingredients before they are sold in food. So far, FDA has not found safety issues with modified ingredients.

Theresa Eisenman, a spokeswoman for FDA, said food manufacturers are already allowed to label their foods as free of genetically modified ingredients. She said the agency “recognizes and appreciates” consumer interest in the issue.

“FDA has received citizen petitions regarding genetically engineered foods, including the labeling of such foods,” she said. “The agency is currently considering those petitions and at this time has not made a decision, in whole or in part, regarding the petitions.”

The companies are facing pressure from retailers as the conversation about modified ingredients has grown louder. Whole Foods announced last year that it plans to label GMO products in all its U.S. and Canadian stores within five years.

And some companies have decided to just remove the ingredients altogether, so no labels will be necessary. General Mills recently announced it would no longer use GMOs in its original Cheerios recipe.

It is unclear whether there is support for voluntary labels in Congress. Many lawmakers from farm states have defended the technology.

In May, the Senate overwhelmingly rejected an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. that would have allowed states to require labeling of genetically modified foods.

Sanders’ amendment to a wide-ranging farm bill was an attempt to clarify that states can require the labels, as several legislatures have moved toward putting such laws into place. Senators from farm states that use a lot of genetically modified crops strongly opposed the amendment, saying the issue should be left up to the federal government and that labels could raise costs for consumers.

The final farm bill, which Congress passed and sent to President Barack Obama this week, does not weigh in on genetically modified ingredients.

Opponents of the modified ingredients say the sentiment may change in Congress as more states wade into the labeling debate. Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group, a Washington advocacy group that supports labeling, says he expects around 30 state legislatures to consider the issue this year.

Maine and Connecticut have already enacted labeling laws for engineered foods, but they won’t go into effect until other states in the region follow suit. And Oregon may be the next state to consider a ballot measure on the issue.

Faber says momentum is building across the country for labeling, “not because consumers are concerned about the technology, but because consumers are demanding to know more and more about their food.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterFebruary 07, 2014 - 7:44 am

    The "food industry" has been FIGHTING GMO labeling. They flexed their lobbying muscle and have had the government and courts conspire in an effort to keep GMO labeling off of products. It is the power of the people, the consumers, who are becoming more aware of the damage that GMO causes who are DEMANDING labeling. People are becoming more aware and they are pissed! Subway just agreed to removed a dubious chemical from their bread in reaction to customer demands. People becoming awake have power. Don't you believe for a second the headline to this story... the food industry has been doing everything they can to keep the people fooled... and this headline furthers that goal.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RalphFebruary 07, 2014 - 2:18 pm

    I use to work for the food industry, My exp. was the worst. Worked my tail off, had to do awkward jobs..bullied by "all" of management-forced to defend myself, leading to my term. I left there hurt mentally and physically. Sad part is this happens in this small town called Fairfield. I died after learning whats had happened while my time there at R's, "managment" was using unknown chemicals on customers and employees like Me. I ended up being hospitalized for it. There are other untold stories of that place..I hope to put an end to this kind of behavior, it truly is harpoon.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Carli takes oath, now Vacaville’s 14th police chief

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Huge jump in Solano median home price

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Solano DA hosts workshop to fight human trafficking

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suisun water rates won’t rise this year

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Kaiser area head Villalobos to leave for SoCal

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Donate a car, help build a house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Fairfield town hall on crime delayed

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Railway museum offers wine-tasting rides

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Travis trustee takes back blast at radio duo

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Drugs topic of cardiac class

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun Police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for April 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

Fairfield police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Body of California man who jumped into river found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Governor calls special session on rainy day fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Seabird from Atlantic spotted on Alcatraz

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-Bell city leader gets 12 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Man charged with marathon hoax is held on bail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Geneva talks on Ukraine face steep hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ferry sinks off South Korea; 6 dead, 290 missing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Parenting demands responsibility

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

 
Let’s stop Fairfield’s future thugs

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11

Obamacare news you probably missed

By Martin Schram | From Page: A11

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 17, 2014

By Kim Durbin | From Page: A11

In support of Pam Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

A lesson in household budgeting

By Chris Erskine | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for April 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Daniel Radcliffe on why New York audiences rock

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Alicia Silverstone out with book ‘Kind Mama’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on ‘The View’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Ailing Malcolm Young taking break from AC/DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Crawford’s 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vacaville’s Peralta to wrestle at San Francisco State

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Angels beat A’s 5-4 on Iannetta’s HR in 12th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
MEL, SCAC tangle in hoops all-star games

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

Sharks take goalie questions into rematch vs Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sidney Rice agrees to terms with Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodwin helps Suns to 104-99 win over Kings in finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

IndyCar driver Saavedra fined $10K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sandoval’s single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Officer: Sharper’s DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Spieth ready for more after Masters success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Backup QB Matt Flynn returns to Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Yellen: Fed stimulus still needed for job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Google’s 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9