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Congressional letter backs GE food labeling

Fifty-five members of Congress — 10 senators and 45 House members — today sent Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg a letter calling on the agency to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods.

The letter was bipartisan, but its organization was led by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFaxio, D-Ore. It was written in support of a legal petition filed by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of the “Just Label It” campaign.

Hamburg noted in recent congressional testimony that FDA’s policy is to require labeling only if an ingredient makes something “materially” different from other foods, but the letter charges that when FDA announced that policy in 1992, the agency “severely limited what it considered ‘material’ by targeting only changes in food that could be recognized by taste, smell, or other senses,” The Center for Food Safety said in a news release today.