Congress and the Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2000

article image
Congress battles genetically modified food.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduces the bill the Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2000.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has introduced the “Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act” (House Resolution 3377). The law would require the labeling of any food that either contains “genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material” and would therefore be an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act.

The Genetically Engineered Food Act Of 2000 was brought to the House in November, and has a bipartisan collection of 20 co-sponsors. However, due to some recent lobbying, 27 representatives who had previously signed a letter supporting labeling backed down when it came time to sponsor the bill.

With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, the forces marshaled by the biotech industry against labeling legislation are growing. Monsanto has found a point person with strong ties to the pertinent regulatory agencies in Michael R. Taylor, former deputy commissioner for policy at the FDA and former top official at the Agricultural Department. And, on the money side, the alliance for Better Foods, a coalition of 38 trade associations, has already contributed more than $676,000 to the coffers of important lawmakers. With public skepticism about genetically engineered food growing and the biotech business getting more nervous about their research and development investments, the fight on Capitol Hill this year should be a fierce one.