Bill Would Require Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods

Article excerpt

Federal legislation that would require food labels to identify genetically engineered ingredients was introduced Wednesday, adding to growing efforts at the state level.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require food manufacturers to clearly label genetically engineered foods. A proposition to require such labels was narrowly defeated in California in November. Creve Coeur-based biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. contributed $8 million toward defeating the California proposition, making it the biggest contributor against the effort.

The bill introduced Wednesday was co-sponsored by 21 lawmakers, most of them Democrats, but advocacy groups said the issue had been gaining bipartisan support. Lawmakers in 25 states, including Missouri and Illinois, are also considering similar legislation.

"Now is the time for FDA to reverse its two-decade old policy against labeling," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for the Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group that's among 100 organizations supporting the measure. …