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Overwhelming Majority of Americans Say: 'Just Label It!'

New Consumers Report poll finds that 92 percent of respondents want the government to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Ninety-two percent of Americans want the government to require GE foods to be labeled, according to the results of a new survey. (Photo: Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center/ Creative Commons)

An overwhelming majority of Americans think that genetically engineered (GE) foods should be labeled before they are sold, according to a new Consumer Reports poll released on Monday. 

The nationally-representative phone survey found that 92 percent of respondents think that GE foods, or those made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), should be labeled accordingly. Further, 92 percent also think that the government should legally require the labeling of GE salmon—which may soon be approved and sold in stores—despite the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently requires neither labeling nor pre-market safety assessments of GE food.

The survey, taken in April 2014, assessed the importance of various factors that consumers weigh when purchasing food. According to the results, 72 percent said it was important or very important to avoid genetically engineered ingredients when making purchases.

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“This poll underscores that, across the country, consumers want labeling of GE food, including GE salmon, and consider safety standards set by the government of such food imperative," said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union.

Growing public opposition to GE foods comes as numerous states have begun to surpass the FDA by passing their own labeling legislation.

Last month, Vermont became the first state to require the labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients. Similar legislation, which included "trigger clauses" that require a certain number of other states to also enact similar laws, passed in both Connecticut and Maine. Lawmakers in Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado, and New York are also weighing labeling proposals.

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