In a vote on Thursday, the US Senate rejected an amendment that would allow states to label genetically modified foods.
The amendment was included in the Senate’s major farm bill. It was proposed by Vermont’s Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. The amendment was rejected 71 to 27.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) is currently presenting a bill that would require labeling on most bioengineered food nationwide, according to the LA Times.
In a press release Sanders said, “An overwhelming majority of Americans favor GMO labeling but virtually all of the major biotech and food corporations in the country oppose it.” Sanders said the measure was an effort to protect states from lawsuits from agricultural companies like Monsanto, according to the Raw Story.
Even as the movement to label engineered foods gains momentum, it is held back by a lack of evidence showing engineered foods are harmful to health. The US Food and Drug Administration requires labeling of artificial ingredients. The debate centers around whether or not engineered foods are artificial.
Currently the FDA does not require labeling for selective breeding in foods. For example, tomatoes have been selectively bred to look beautiful, but are not as sweet.
Meanwhile most labeling activists are also anti-Monsanto, which owns most of the country’s food supply. Monsanto is a large food supplier that owns rights to wheat, corn and soy seed among other genetically engineered foods that are pest resistant.
It’s estimated 85% of all corn and soy in the marketplace is bioengineered.
For now, those wishing to avoid genetically engineered foods must shop at specific stores, local farmers markets and use tech to make their purchases.
Some retailers, like Trader Joe’s, refuse to offer genetically modified foods.
Apps, like Buycott, are available that let consumers know what products use Monsanto sourced ingredients.