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FDA report: Consumers want GM labels

(February 13, 2001 -- Cropchoice news) -- A report that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) produced reveals that consumers want mandatory labelling of genetically engineered foods because they're concerned about environmental and health effects.

To help them make informed purchases, virtually all of the consumer respondents in the report said, "bioengineered foods should be labelled as such so that they could tell whether a given food was a product of the new technology."

Despite this report and growing resistance to genetically engineered foods in general, the FDA has no plans to require labelling. Since 1992, the FDA has insisted that genetically modified foods are substantially equivalent to their conventional counterparts.

The report is the result of 12 focus groups meeting in four different cities last spring. Consumers voiced great surprise and concern over the way that bioengineered foods have been introduced, and how widely they are now used.

"The typical reaction of participants was not one of great concern about the immediate health and safety effects of unknowingly eating bioengineered foods, but rather outrage that such a change in the food supply could happen without them knowing about it," the report said.