Lars Noah


Under the longstanding FDA policy, the use of genetic engineering in the production of food products generally does not require disclosure in labeling, though sellers would have to reveal if the process introduced any special risks or other material changes. Commentators who criticize this policy often point to the agency's purportedly contrary "precedent" in requiring disclosure whenever foods undergo irradiation. That old FDA rule deserves much of the blame, however, for the fact that irradiation remains seriously underutilized as an effective tool for guarding against foodborne pathogens. If routine GMO food labeling ever became mandatory under either federal or state law, then a similar fate might well befall this newer technology, which is precisely what opponents who involve a "right to know" hope to accomplish.



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