Reporting Holly Quan
EMERYVILLE (KCBS) – Following the defeat of Proposition 37 last November, Sen. Barbara Boxer is proposing federal legislation that would require labeling for genetically-modified foods nationwide.
California voters failed to pass the measure last year, which would have made the state the first to require labeling for genetically-modified foods.
Boxer is getting wide-ranging support from chefs and restaurateurs in the Bay Area.
Charles Phan, who owns several restaurants in San Francisco, including the popular Slanted Door in the Ferry Building, said as a chef and a parent, he wants to know if what he’s serving is genetically modified.
“I remember DDT was introduced in Vietnam when I was a kid. It was the wonder drug of my little hometown,” Phan said. “With that experience, I’m a little skeptical and I want to be careful.”
Phan said that a federal standard would avoid confusion from state-to-state over labeling requirements.
That’s the same reasoning behind the legislation from Boxer, which has bipartisan support. She is calling for the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling policies to catch up with 21st century technology.
“Some families will say, I don’t have a problem with this,” Boxer said on Thursday, as she toured the Clif Bar headquarters in Emeryville. “The products a little cheaper and I haven’t seen anything that let’s me feel it’s dangerous. Others will say I want to wait for the long term studies and right now, I’m going to play it safe and not buy these products.”
The World Health Organization and the American Medical Association said people have been eating genetically modified food for decades, with no serious effects. And food industry lobbyists said labeling would stigmatize foods that do no harm.
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