Washington calls for new genetically modified food labelling measure

6 January 2013 (Last Updated January 6th, 2013 18:30)

A new measure that would require food companies to label products containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) is set to be filed in Washington, US.

A new measure that would require food companies to label products containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) is set to be filed in Washington, US.

The latest initiative is expected to make Washington the first state in the US to require all food with genetically modified ingredients or grown from genetically amended seeds to be labelled as such.

Washington secretary of state spokesman David Ammons said measure sponsors turned in petitions that were signed by about 350,000 registered voters, at least 100,000 more signatures than needed.

"The latest initiative is expected to make Washington the first state in the US to require all food with genetically modified ingredients or grown from genetically amended seeds to be labelled as such."

The submission guarantees that the initiative on GMO-labelling certified by the secretary will be sent on to the state legislature, which could implement the measure or leave it to a vote on the election ballot in November 2013.

The US government at present allows only a few food crops including corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, yellow squash, zucchini and papaya to be genetically modified.

The genetic features of biotech crops that are used to make processed foods including soy milk, soup and breakfast cereals have been manipulated in order to make them resistant to insects and pesticides.

In 1992, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined genetically modified crops, which are 'substantially equivalent' to conventional crops, do not need any labels.

A petition demanding that the FDA require all genetically modified food to be labelled began in 2012 on the federal level, and has collected 1.3 million signatures, however the FDA still needs to respond to the petition.