GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Re: Need info on GenEng Labelling

A Note on the Lack of Labeling of G-E Foods in the USA

According to US Federal Regulations (Nov. 5, 1993 FDA Regulations), it is
"legal" for producers to truthfully label milk and dairy products as
"rBGH-free," if they work it out with various state authorities. The FDA has
made similar statements in regard to other g-e foods. In practical terms,
however, industry organizations and state authorities have interfered with
nearly every producer who has tried to sell "rBGH-free" products outside of a
small niche market (a city or within a state). (Organic foods are an
exception here, although Illinois and Nevada have even interfered with
organics being labeleled or advertised as "rBGH-free.") The bottom line is
that although only 3-5% of the milk supply is genetically engineered, 90% of
fluid milk (and almost all mass market dairy products other than fluid milk)
is not being labeled as "rBGH-free" because of industry and governmental
interference and intimidation. With other g-e foods there is so far no
labeling whatsoever. In response to boycott pressure in 1992-94 the Calgene
corporation (now controlled by Monsanto) often "voluntarily" labeled "Flavr
Savr" tomatoes as being from "genetically modified" seeds in 1994-96, but
this was a public relations smokescreen rather than a genuine change of
policy on the part of the biotech industry--who understand that mandatory
labeling would be the economic "kiss of death" for their products. The "Flavr
Savr" was subsequently pulled off the market in 1996.