GMO labeling momentum builds
The call for labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods continues to grow louder. The Just Label It campaign — with more than 500 partner organizations — is well on its way to collecting one million comments urging the Food and Drug Adminstration to mandate GE (or GMO) labeling.
Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Peter DeFazio are leading the effort, and many members of both houses of Congress have signed on so far, including: Representatives Hanna (NY), Pingree (ME), Kucinich (OH), McGovern (MA), Moran (VA), Stark (CA), Farr (CA), George Miller (CA) and Polis (CO), as well as Senators Begich (AK), Tester (MT), Wyden (OR) and others.
While the Just Label It campaign and many others (including Center for Food Safety, Stonyfield, Truth in Labeling Coalition, Food Democracy Now) are focusing national attention and pressure on FDA, supporters of GMO labeling are also employing a state-by-state approach.
As reported recently by Grist, a whopping 17 states have introduced GE-labeling legislation this session — though apparently few have a chance at passing. Industry pressure continues to play a role in thwarting proposed legislation, and it seems just Connecticut and Vermont "still have a chance at making something happen through their legislative bodies this year," according to the Grist article.
Now advocates are joining forces in California to get a ballot initiative passed in the state that’s home to 10% of all the nation’s grocery stores. If passed, California would be the first state with mandatory GMO labeling laws; the campaign is in the process of collecting the required 800,000 signatures to secure the initiative a place on November's ballot.
A staggering majority of Americans, 93% in fact, want to know when they are eating genetically engineered food. With up to 80% of the non-organic products on our shelves containing GE ingredients, and little-to-no long-term studies on their effects, people are concerned.
Meanwhile much of the rest of the world — including Japan, Australia, the European Union and China — already requires genetically engineered foods to be clearly labeled. But in the U.S., biotech companies like Monsanto continue to enjoy unfettered and unlabeled access to the market. The only sure way to know that a food product contains no GE components is to look for the organic seal.
Additionally, biotech corporations have exerted undue influence on our food system for far too long, while making promises on which they fail to deliver. After 14 years of commercialization, and millions of dollars in publicly funded research, the agricultural biotech industry has yet to deliver on the drought-resistant, high-yield products promised. Their seeds require more pesticide use, not less.