Polis right to seek GMO labeling law

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis has the right idea on GMO labeling. Polis, a Democrat representing the 2nd Congressional district, has introduced the GMO Labeling Bill, which would require labeling of food containing GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

Polis introduced the bill Feb. 20 at Alfalfa’s Market in downtown Boulder. The bill will be co-sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and in the Senate by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. The bill:

• Provides that consumers have a right to know whether food contains GMOs.

• Defines what constitutes a genetically modified organism, including plants, animals and fish.

• Provides for civil penalties for violations.

“I am proud to help lead the GMO Labeling Bill, which is all about consumer choice and information,” Polis said in a statement. “It’s important to empower people with the information they need to make their own healthy choices. People have the right to make consumer decisions based on accurate transparency in labeling, and knowledge is power.”

GMOs have proved controversial not only in the United States but also worldwide, where 50 countries impose restrictions or bans on their use. We do not oppose GMOs — many valid arguments exist as to why they can help in the battle against world hunger — but this bill deserves support, no matter what one’s stance is on their use.

A number of states are considering their own version of GMO labeling, perhaps contributing to higher costs and bureaucracy for food producers. A national standard would create one set of regulations and definitions, making it easier for producers to comply.

Supporters of a federal labeling requirement point to a recent Washington Post article, saying that 94 percent of U.S. citizens support labeling. The nation — and Polis — has it right.

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