A growing number of states are tackling the complex issue of genetically engineered foods. In June, Connecticut became the first state to pass a law requiring the labeling of food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Vermont House passed a similar bill, which has been taken up by the Senate. In Washington state, a referendum on GMO labeling is scheduled for November. In California last November, a referendum failed 53-47 after the biotech industry spent nearly $45 million on opposition ads.
At the federal level, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced a bill in April that would direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to "clearly label" genetically engineered foods. Boxer notes she has 11 co-sponsors of the bill, which she first introduced in 2000. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced the House version.
26 states have put forth labeling bills, according to Right to Know GMO, a self-described grass-roots coalition with membership in 37 states.
90% of the American public favors the idea of GMO food labeling, according to a New York Times survey.
Labeling Around the World
Countries with Mandatory Labeling of GE Foods
Currently, 64 countries require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Unlike most developed countries, such as 15 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and even China, the U.S. has no laws requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods.
- October 2013