FDA Disputes GMO Labeling Petition Numbers

Brett Jordan/CC BY-NC 2.0

Tuesday, March 27 marked the deadline for the FDA to respond to a petition from the Just Label It campaign to enforce labeling on foods that include genetically modified ingredients, as reported in the Chicago Tribune.

The FDA responded by saying they’ve made no decision and they need more time, leaving those with strong opinions waiting on the edge of their seats.

Disputed Numbers

But even as we wait to hear their decision, contention over the number of petition signatures has left many angered. The way the FDA and the Just Label It campaign count signatures is very different.

While Just Label It claims to have gathered over a million signatures, the FDA counts only 394. Here's why: If 20,000 people sign their name to one letter, it’s counted as 1 comment to an FDA docket or petition. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many people sign a letter, it’s still one comment, according to the Chicago Tribune

"This is the problem with the very un-friendly regulations.gov site," said Sue McGovern spokesperson for the Just Label It campaign in a statement. "It will not allow groups like Just Label It to direct individual comments from our site into theirs."

Awaiting a Response From the FDA

Unless you go directly to the Regulations.gov site and make your comment, it can only be made as a part of someone else’s comment. But to be fair, this is their policy with all petitions and even with only 394 comments, they still must consider the issue.

GMO foods are labeled all over Europe, China, and Japan but not in the U.S. Each year it seems that another country is added to the list of GMO labelers, but some how we lag behind, even though in the U.S. more than 9 out of 10 soybean seeds are GMO. It's the same for cotton and just a little lower for corn. Some 60 to 70 percent of processed foods found in grocery stores contain GMO ingredients, which is much higher than in other countries. How can we be expected to provide good, healthy foods for our family without knowing what we’re eating?

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Tags: Genetically Modified Food | Genetic Engineering

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