Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has reintroduced the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 to prevent individual states from requiring labels indicating whether a food was genetically modified (GMO).
“GMOs are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet,” Pompeo said.
The bill would also tighten the standards companies must use to designate their food as GMO-free: Crops must not be planted with bioengineered seeds, and animals must not be fed bioengineered food.
“I think people have a right to know what they are eating,” said Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University. “Ethical food companies, restaurants, and groceries should tell them. I don’t see safety as an issue for GMOs, but if people want information, give it to them. Government should not have to mandate [labels]. The safety data doesn’t support mandatory labeling. But respect for customers does. So label voluntarily.”
Companies designating their products as GMO-free appeal to some consumers who fear GMOs pose environmental or human health threats.
Caplan says scientific evidence indicates GMOs are harmless.
A study published in the Journal of Animal Science examined more than 100 billion animals before 1996, when animal feed was 100 percent non-GMO, and after, when animal feed was 90 percent GMO or more. The study found GMOs completely safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMOs.