By Steve Morgan
On May 9 the Honolulu City Council passed Resolution 12-57 with a majority 7-to-2 vote.
Introduced by Honolulu City Councilmember Tulsi Gabbard, the resolution urges the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered (GMO) food.
“After hearing overwhelming testimony in support, I am pleased that the Honolulu City Council has voted to urge the FDA to mandate labeling of genetically modified foods,” said Gabbard. “This resolution is really about freedom and the consumer’s right to make informed choices. The FDA needs to uphold its responsibilities and make labeling a requirement for all genetically engineered foods.”
Many U.S. Congressional leaders agree with the position taken by Councilmember Gabbard. A recent bipartisan letter sent to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg calling on the agency to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods was signed by 55 members of Congress, including U.S. Senator Dan Akaka.
Globally, more than 50 countries including Japan, China, Australia, Israel and all countries of the European Union already require labeling of genetically engineered food.
Labeling allows both consumer and health experts the opportunity to isolate any ingredients that might prove to be harmful to our health. Recent years have seen dramatic increases in allergies, cancer, birth defects and a host of degenerative diseases. Are GMO food products contributing to this rise? Many experts believe that this is the case, however if GMO’s were labeled in the food products we buy, this could easily be determined on a much broader scale. Labeling would also assist those in whose ethical or religious values conflict with genetic engineering.
Labeling genetically engineered foods in the U.S. is an idea whose time has come. According to a USDA report, nine out of 10 Americans feel the federal government should require that food containing genetically engineered ingredients be clearly labeled as such. We deserve the right to know what is in our food!