One of the great debates of the upcoming election could be the future of prepared food labels. Though Congress has kept the labeling of genetically modified foods voluntary, a new poll shows that many voters are in favor of making it mandatory. According to the new survey, which was conducted by the Mellman Group and surveyed 800 general election voters, 89 percent of Americans support the effort to require the labeling of all genetically modified organisms in food products, despite the FDA's growing acceptance of them.
The new poll was commissioned by a few different consumer and environmental groups, such as Just Label It, Food & Water Watch and Friends of the Earth and the Center for Food Safety. The researchers found that 88 percent of respondents would prefer a printed GMO label opposed to a barcode that would be scanned by a smartphone application.
"This is yet another poll that shows broad and deep support for clear GMO labeling at a time when the issue is more important than ever," Scott Faber, executive director of Just Label It, said in a news release. "Food manufacturers and lawmakers should work together to give Americans a more transparent food system by crafting a non-judgmental, mandatory GMO labeling system that is easily found on the packaging."
While concerned citizens push for mandatory GMO labeling, the FDA has continued to insist upon its safety. It recently issued new rules on genetically modified foods, saying they're safe to eat and typically shouldn't require any labeling. These new rules came in the same time that the FDA approved a breed of salmon genetically engineered for faster growth, making it the first genetically modified animal approved for the U.S. food market.
In a statement, the FDA explained that it is not aware of any scientific evidence showing that genetically modified foods are different from traditionally grown foods in any meaningful way, and that they don't present any greater safety concerns. However, it added, if a genetically engineered food differs materially from its traditional counterpart, the labeling must indicate those differences.
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