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Pa. Lawmaker Pushes For Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods

By John Ostapkovich

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (CBS) -- A suburban state senator is leading a push to make sure genetically engineered food products are labeled as such in Pennsylvania.

Food labels contain a lot of information, but not yet an indication if the food contains genetically engineered ingredients.

Now, Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach, who represents portions of Montgomery and Delaware counties, has introduced a bill to require label notification.  He thinks that, and nothing more, will do the trick.

"Ninety-three percent in the latest poll support having this information available to them on the labels of products," Leach tells KYW Newsradio.   "It's a no-brainer.  Just tell people, and then you know.   Some people in the industry say that genetically modified foods can actually be healthier in some ways. Great -- make that claim.  We don't object to that.  Just let people know what they're getting."

An initiative along those lines in California was rejected last Novbember after pushback from the food industry.

That, Leach admits, is par for the course.

"They fought nutritional labeling.  They fought calorie labeling.  We've seen all of that, and it hasn't hurt the food industry," Leach says.  "I mean, I don't eat monosodium gluamate.   Other people do.  It's on the label.  They still use it. The industry is still making billions. Everyone's happy.  There's no downside to this."

The industry opposed the California measure  on the grounds of higher food prices, more lawsuits, a maze of exceptions, and conflicts with science.

Just last year the American Medical Association said there's no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically engineered food.

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