On April 24, the “Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act” was introduced in congress with bipartisan support. If passed, it would require all food products containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled as such in the United States. The bill’s main sponsors are Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR).

An announcement had been made in February that DeFazio and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) would bring forth a bill that would require GMO labeling on food products. Now, nearly three dozen officials from the House of Representatives and the Senate have signed on to cosponsor the bill, which shares its name with a failed bill introduced in 2011 by former Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Cosponsor Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) lauded the bill’s introduction, saying, “Americans deserve to have accurate information when making choices about what they eat. As a parent, the safety and quality of our food is important to me and to families across New Mexico. I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bill to ensure consumers are able to make informed and healthy decisions about the products they purchase.”

John Shaw, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA) believes that like most bills, it will follow the regular legislative order, beginning with committees and hearings. Shaw says that NPA applauds the efforts of the members of Congress. “We’re looking forward to our continued work with Senator Boxer and Congressman DeFazio, and their allies in the House and Senate, to make sure that any kind of legislation that is considered is consistent with NPA members’ principles and goals.”

Shaw went on to say that NPA believes a national standard on GMO labeling is the best solution, and that any other framework is unsustainable. “Consistency is key. What we can’t afford as an industry is to have a patchwork of state by state or regional [GMO labeling] initiatives that can add uncertainty to business practices, from the smallest retailers to the largest supplier.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2013