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Thousands of Chefs Lobby Congress for Mandatory GMO Labeling

They believe people have a right to know what's in their food

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The battle over labeling for genetically modified foods continues, and now chefs are making their voices heard. Last month, Republican Kansas Senator Pat Roberts introduced a bill known as the SAFE Act, which would make GMO labeling voluntary for states, repealing laws in states like Vermont that would mandate GMO labeling on all foods. Despite the fact that recent polls have shown that 89 percent of Americans are in favor of GMO labeling, food industry lobbyists continue to pressure Congress and the FDA to declare GMO foods safe for consumption — like genetically engineered salmon — and in some cases, have secretly funded campaigns against it.

However, many activist groups like Food Policy Action, founded by restaurateur and Top Chef fixture Tom Colicchio, are fighting the bill and calling for transparency in the U.S. food system. FPA took the fight straight to Capitol Hill today, delivering Congress a petition signed by 4,053 chefs urging the Senate to reject the DARK Act (as opponents have come to call the SAFE Act). The signatures came from chefs from both fine-dining and casual restaurants across 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Senator Roberts' misguided bill ignores the voices of Americans who want information about what's in their food and how it's grown," Colicchio says via press release. "It's disappointing that Senator Roberts is advancing this giveaway to processed food companies at the expense of consumers' right to know."

Check out FPA's letter to Congress and the thousands of chef signatures that accompanied it, below:

Food Policy Action Letter to Congress

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