Right or wrong, scientifically-based or not, the labeling of genetically engineered foods (GE foods) - often, and erroneously, referred to as GMO foods - remains a topic on the mind of activists and legislatures across the country.
In October 2011, the Center for Food Safety (not to be confused with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition), and other nonprofit organizations, filed a citizens’ petition with the US Food and Drug Administration seeking mandatory labeling for foods made from genetically engineered crops. Similar groups launched a “Just Label It” campaign to garner support for the petition, and many nonprofit organizations asked their members to submit comments to FDA in support. Comments closed last month, and FDA recently stated that it hopes to complete its review and respond to the petition in the near future.
For nearly twenty years, FDA has repeatedly asserted that there is “no basis for concluding that bioengineered foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way, or that, as a class, foods developed by the new techniques present any different or greater safety concern than foods developed by traditional plant breeding.” The petition, yet again, seeks a new policy and labeling requirements. The FDA’s long-held position is that GE foods are not materially different from their conventional counterparts.