Genetically modified (GMO) food labeling is currently required in 64 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, Russia and the 28 member states of the European Union. Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow lent a touch of Hollywood glamour to a campaign against a legislation that would prevent the labeling of GMO food in the United States.
The actress appeared on Capitol Hill alongside Democratic senators opposed to the so-called Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. Nicknamed as the Denying Americans the Right-to-Know Act, or DARK Act, by its opponents, the bill is pending Senate action after clearing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Paltrow said, "I'm not here as an expert. I'm here as an American mother who honestly believes that I have the right to know what's in the food I feed my family." Paltrow's mother, actress Blythe Danner, who also participated in the media event, said, "There is so much that has not yet been proven about the safety of GMO food."
Paltrow is among a number of celebrities who have endorsed the 'Just Label It' campaign that is aiming to derail the legislation. The campaign says that 90% of Americans surveyed in opinion polls favor labeling GMO foods and more than 200,000 people have signed its online petition against the DARK Act so far.
If enacted, 'Just Label It' says, "The legislation would virtually eliminate the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to come up with a nationwide GMO labeling system. It would also preempt the ability of states to set up their own GMO labeling regimes, as Vermont plans to do next year."
Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat and farmer in Montana, his home state, said, "Every American in this great country has the right to know if the food they eat was created in a lab."
But the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, a food industry group, said, "GMO labeling in the United States would create consumer confusion and jack up grocery bills by as much as $500 a year per family." The group also mocked Paltrow personally, dismissing her as another in a series of out of touch Hollywood celebrities who want to enshrine their lifestyle choices on everyday American families. It said, "We are confident the Senate will stand with science and American facilities rather than the extreme agendas of Hollywood elites."