As a consumer interested in food safety, and one of the 93% of Americans who want mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), I am very disappointed that you are asking the FDA to finalize its 2001 guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs. I am writing to ask you to abandon your current course and instead support the rights of states to enact mandatory GMO labeling laws and/or support the Boxer bill, S. 809, a federal law that calls for mandatory labeling of GMOs.
Judging from its track record, the FDA is likely to use a final guidance to outlaw the use of non-GMO labels on products that have been tested and certified as GMO-free. Worse yet, the FDA could take away states' rights to pass GMO labeling laws on the basis of its original, and highly controversial, ruling that GMO and non-GMO foods are "substantially equivalent."
Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which have spent millions trying to defeat GMO labeling laws in California and Washington state, have publicly endorsed the FDA's 2001 guidance. That should be proof enough that if the FDA finalizes its guidance on voluntary GMO labels, consumers will be the losers. Please withdraw your request to the FDA and instead support meaningful, mandatory—not voluntary—legislation that protects the interests of consumers, and your constituents, not those of the biotech and food industries.