USA Today: FDA tries to remove genetic label before it sticks
- Subject: [cg] USA Today: FDA tries to remove genetic label before it sticks
- From: Alliums firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 07:26:51 -0400
Very interesting article from USA Today about the FDA's disagreement with
the proposed Oregon GE labeling law which is to be voted on by referendum
in the upcoming election.
Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden
A mission of
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460
FDA tries to remove genetic label before it sticks
By Elizabeth Weise USA TODAY
PORTLAND, Ore. -- In an unusual move, the federal government has warned
state of Oregon that it could be interfering with national food producers
if voters pass a ballot measure requiring all genetically modified foods
sold in the state to be labeled.
The unsolicited letter, which arrived Monday in the office of Oregon Gov.
John Kitzhaber, says the measure "would impermissibly interfere with
manufacturers' ability to market their products on a nationwide basis."
letter was signed by Food and Drug Administration deputy commissioner
As much as 80% of the foods found in a typical American supermarket
at least one ingredient created from genetically engineered crops.
of the measure don't claim the foods are dangerous, but they say
should be able to make informed choices. Critics say labeling is
and will force one label for Oregon foods, a different one elsewhere.
If voters pass the measure Nov. 5, Oregon will be the first state to
require labeling of so-called GE foods. Europe and Japan already require
The FDA letter now inserts a federal interest in what to this point had
been a brewing state fight.
Still, Measure 27 is the subject of intense interest far beyond Oregon's
borders. Food suppliers and processors argue that if they lose in Oregon,
they'll face unjust suspicion from consumers that the foods aren't safe
the prospect of labeling laws in other states.
"In this letter, we are not promising to take action, but we are letting
the people of Oregon know, as best we can, what our views are about the
ordinance," a senior FDA official said.
The FDA statement appears to allude to the commerce clause of the
Constitution, which prohibits states from impeding the flow of interstate
commerce, says Jonathan Adler, a professor of environmental and
constitutional law at Case Western Reserve law school in Cleveland.
The governor's press secretary, Tom Towslee, says the governor was
surprised to get the letter. "For the federal government to weigh in on a
ballot measure in little old Oregon is a little unusual, but they
feel strongly about it," Towslee says.
The two-page letter also states that the FDA has found that, in its
scientific judgment, there "is no significant difference" between
bioengineered foods and their conventional counterparts.
Donna Harris, who launched the campaign to get the initiative on the
ballot, doesn't buy it. "If they're the same as everything else, then how
come they have a patent on them?"
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