Require labels for altered food

San Jose Mercury News: Americans have made it abundantly clear they want the ability to make informed decisions about what they eat. The United States should join every European Union nation as well as Japan, Australia, Russia and China in requiring food producers to label the genetically engineered foods sold in stores and supermarkets.

California Sen. Barbara Boxer and Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio introduced a labeling bill in April that deserves widespread, bipartisan support. Congress should pass the legislation and President Barack Obama should sign it into law.

Boxer understands that with nearly 20 other states considering their own labeling laws, it would be far better for food producers and consumers if there were a single federal law governing genetically engineered foods.

Farmers, food packagers and store owners argue correctly that the National Academy of Sciences, American Medical Association, FDA and World Health Organization have all said they can find no proven health risk from foods or animals whose DNA has been modified.

But the field of study remains young enough that it’s impossible to tell whether there are long-term effects to the processes scientists are using to genetically alter foods.

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