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Labels Don't Apply to GM Foods

Last week, the Genetically Modified (GM) foods debate took another turn when the Clinton Administration announced that mandatory labeling of GM foods would not be necessary since there is no proof that the foods pose health risks. "The F.D.A.'s scientific review continues to show that all bioengineered foods sold in the United States today are as safe as their non-bioengineered counterparts," said Dr. Jane E. Henney, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, in a recent New York Times article. At the same time, the White House outlined a plan by which the Food and Drug Administration would start requiring the makers of products with GM ingredients to give regulators at least 120 days notice before the foods hit the market. Currently, such notice is voluntary. Another item discussed for the future includes establishing a system for voluntary labeling of both GM and non-GM foods. Additionally, some measures are being taken to consider the segregation of GM crops from regular crops during and after harvesting. Now, the crops are commonly harvested together, which can "taint" non-GM crops in European tests that determine whether a food has been modified or not. This practice has caused some US foods to be rejected by foreign importers. In the US today, over 50 genetically engineered crops including corn, cotton, squash, and tomatoes are grown on close to 70 million acres of farmland. This week's In The News takes a closer look at the GM Foods debate.
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Date of Scout Publication 2000-05-10
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