The issue of GMO labeling has been around for a very long time, with many surveys and studies showing that upwards of 90% of the United States public is in favor of labeling products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Despite the desire of the general public to enforce GMO labeling, the Food and Drug Administration has decided not to pursue the labeling of modified ingredients. In fact, the agency actually rejected the validity of a petition with nearly 1 million signatures and comments known as the Just Label It campaign.
The initiative was launched back in October of 2011 and had received well over 900,000 signatures. The petition marked the highest number of signatures for any GMO labeling initiative in history, and made serious waves across the alternative and mainstream media alike. Even 55 politicians offered support towards the Just Label It campaign, sending off a letter to the FDA highlighting how GMO labeling actually empowers the consumer — not misinforms them. Nonetheless, the FDA decided to ignore the concerns thanks to a little-known judicial loophole. Instead of counting the amount of signatures by how many people actually signed the petition, the FDA decided to count the hundreds of thousands of signatures on the petition as a single comment. As a result, the FDA ‘removed‘ the hundreds of thousands of signatures and ended up with a count of only 394.
On the legislative front, a total of 18 states have now taken action to examine and introduce GMO labeling laws that seek to identify products containing genetically modified ingredients. Among these is the ‘VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act’, introduced in Vermont back in February of 2012. The bill, which gained a large degree of attention, would disallow GMO food producers from utilizing promotional labels like “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” or any words of similar import.
While the discussion as to whether or not GMOs are safe is an entirely separate issue, the actual labeling of GMO foods is almost universally supported. Just as manufacturers are required to list the presence of other concerning ingredients, GMOs are no different. Many countries around the world currently require labeling or outright reject genetically modified organisms, so why hasn’t the United States government followed suit?