WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The waves of controversy over genetically engineered foods are lapping ever closer to U.S. shores after causing an uproar in Europe.
During the National Summit on the Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods here, scientists, public policy experts and industry and religious leaders presented a petition to the White House, Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency demanding mandatory labeling of all foods derived from, processed with, containing or consisting of genetically engineered organisms. The petition contained 500,000 signatures from across the country.
Food-industry observers aren't yet sure whether the debate in Europe will cause Americans to take up the issue. Nevertheless, the arrival of the petitions raises the profile of GM foods, even though some of them have been around for years.
"Despite this high-stakes international debate, few Americans know anything about the issue," said summit organizer Laura Ticciati. "We want to make sure that the American people have the complete story about what is happening to their food supply."
Across the Atlantic, retailers in Great Britain most recently have been removing genetically modified food, dubbed "Frankenstein foods" by critics, from shelves, while the government significantly tightens labeling practices for food products that contain them, including fresh meals.