Senator Begich’s amendment to label genetically engineered fish has passed in the Senate.
Congratulations – your efforts paid off!
On Friday, an amendment offered by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) to require labeling of genetically engineered fish was passed by a voice vote in the Senate.
In his speech, Seantor Begich noted that over 60 countries currently require labeling of GE foods, including Russia, China and the European Union. Additionally, he pointed out that over 2,000 grocery stores across the U.S., including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, have committed to not sell genetically engineered seafood.
While the Senate’s budget plan is non-binding, the passage of the Begich amendment will further increase the pressure on the FDA to label genetically engineered foods.
We encourage you to send a thank you letter to Senator Begich for protecting our right to know by introducing this amendment, and working to drum up support in the Senate.
As always, thank you for taking action.
Partnership and Media Manager
Just Label It
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Nutrition Non-profit Leads Protest of Dairy Adulteration Proposal
NASDAQ GLOBENEWSWIRE–Washington, DC—March, 13, 2013—According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, American consumers are crying foul over a dairy industry petition to add unlabeled artificial sweeteners to flavored milks served to school children and to many other classes of dairy products.
Numerous scientific studies point to toxic effects of aspartame, including cancer, digestive issues and memory impairment. In spite of this evidence, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) recently submitted a petition to the FDA to hide the chemical sweetener without declaring it on ingredients labels.
The Weston A. Price Foundation and other groups are urging consumers to file comments in protest of the petition on the FDA The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit nutrition education organization.
A petition against the move, http://action.sumofus.org/a/aspartame-milk/?sub=homepage, has gathered almost 100,000 signatures.
“The integrity of our food supply is poised for another blow. By asking the FDA to alter the definition of “milk” to include chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose without full disclosure will only lead to further distrust among consumers. This is a bad idea for consumers and not a smart idea for the industry either,” explains Sally Fallon Morell, president and founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
While aimed principally at replacing sugar in flavored milks served to school children, the petition also asks for the right to put hidden artificial sweeteners in a host of dairy products including nonfat dried milk (always added to reduced-fat milks), yogurt, cream, half-and-half, sour cream, eggnog and whipping cream.
Researchers and holistic health advocates have warned about the toxicity of artificial sweeteners for many years:
- Thousands of adverse reactions to aspartame have been reported to the FDA, mostly concerned with abnormal brain function, brain tumors, epilepsy and Parkinson’s.
- Children’s brains are four times more are more susceptible to damage from excitotoxins like aspartame than those of adults and react with ADD ADHD type symptoms, impaired learning, depression and nausea.
- People who are sensitive to aspartame can have life-threatening reactions to it.
Scientific evidence for the precautionary principle can be found on PubMed.com, a respected scientific database. Here a just a few of the representative studies:
A scientific study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2012 Dec;16(15):2092-101, Studies on the effects of aspartame on memory and oxidative stress in brain of mice, found impaired memory performance and increased brain oxidative stress by repeated aspartame administration.
In May, 2010, The International Journal of Genomics published a study In Vivo Cytogenetic Studies on Aspartame where scientists observed significant chromosomal aberrations in the bone marrow cells of mice following exposure to aspartame. Because of the genotoxicity they found, scientists advised caution when using aspartame in food and beverages as a sweetener.
A Swiss study with mice and rats, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in December 2010 found Aspartame (APM) exposure is especially harmful for pre-term fetus, rats of both genders, and male mice. Scientists found APM to be a carcinogenic agent in multiple sites (liver and lung) in mice and rats and that its effects are increased when exposure starts from prenatal life.
How to Register Public Comments:
URL for Public Comments:
Dairy Industry FDA Petition:
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nutrition education foundation with the mission of disseminating accurate, science-based information on diet and health. Named after nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price, DDS, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, the Washington, DC-based Foundation publishes a quarterly journal for its 15,000+ members, supports 572 local chapters worldwide and hosts a yearly international conference. The Foundation phone number is (202) 363-4394, http://www.westonaprice.org, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact: Kimberly Hartke, 703-860-2711, cell 703-675-5557, email@example.com
Right now President Obama and bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration are preparing to unleash genetically engineered salmon on the market. After years of controversial regulatory review, this past week the Obama administration cleared a final hurdle for AquaBounty’s GMO salmon to be approved at any moment.On Friday, December 21st, 2012, FDA bureaucrats declared that AquaBounty’s GMO AquaAdvantage® salmon poses no “significant” risk to the environment. This recent FDA decision comes on top of the agency’s 2010 declaration that the GMO salmon were safe for humans to eat, despite no independent long-term studies. Once again, the FDA is putting corporate science over public health.
If approved, AquaBounty’s GMO salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal to be sold for human consumption and could appear in restaurants and grocery stores as early 2013.
Right now there is an open 60-day public comment period at the FDA before any approval can move forward and we need your help today to get as many comments as possible.
Already biotech cheerleaders are hailing the FDA’s recent announcement as a first of many new approvals to come, which means that more genetically engineered, transgenic animals could be approved in the near future.
In case you haven’t heard, the AquaBounty GMO salmon has been genetically engineered in laboratories to allegedly grow twice as fast as wild salmon, which the Massachusetts-based company hopes its patented mutant fish will replace as a new staple at sushi bars, seafood restaurants and supermarkets across America.
Straight from the pages of a science fiction novel, AquaBounty has inserted the genes of a Chinook salmon growth hormone and an “on-off” switch from the eelpout, into the eggs of Atlantic salmon, to make the GMO salmon grow faster than wild or farmed salmon.
Despite the company’s claims, critics remain skeptical that genetically engineered fish has any real benefits.
Once Again the FDA Ignores Serious Risks and Environmental Concerns
While AquaBounty claims its GMO salmon will only be raised in indoor, land-based facilities, environmentalists have real concerns if any accident were to take place. Scientific studies show that the release of just 60 GMO salmon could eradicate wild Atlantic salmon populations of 60,000 fish in less than 40 fish generations.
In an effort to overcome this, AquaBounty has built egg production facilities on Prince Edward Island in Canada and will then ship them to an indoor facility in Panama where they will be grown out. Once the GMO salmon are grown to maturity, they will be sold unlabeled in U.S. markets, if the Obama administration gets its way.
It is due to AquaBounty’s promise to only raise the GMO salmon in indoor, land-based pens that the Obama FDA has now given the mutant fish a thumbs up with its recently published Environmental Assessment (EA), claiming that the GMO salmon poses “no significant impact” on the environment.
In addition to land-based pens, AquaBounty claims it will only raise “sterile females”, but this is factually false since tests show that up to 5% of the GMO salmon are able to reproduce.
At the same time, leaked internal emails from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) reveal that the governments own scientists are dubious about the FDA’s own assessment.
In an email to a coworker, FWS geneticist Denise Hawkins wrote in 2010:
“I also agree … that using [genetically sterile] fish is not foolproof. Maybe [the FDA] should watch Jurassic Park.”
In addition, Hawkins criticized the FDA’s fantastical assessment of the ability of these GMO salmon to survive outside of the intended indoor pens, saying, “There is no data to support the claims of low survival in the event of escape, which… is a big concern.”
How will GMO salmon impact human health?
Because no independent, long-term scientific studies of AquaBounty’s patented salmon have been conducted, the human health impacts of GMO salmon are not currently known. Shockingly, the FDA is relying on scant scientific documents provided by AquaBounty itself. In fact, the FDA’s own assessment AquaBounty’s studies to determine whether GMO salmon are safe for human consumption states that the studies contain “technical flaws” and provide “insufficient data”.
For two of the studies submitted, AquaBounty used sample sizes so small that they have no scientific credibility, with only 12 fish tested for one study, while another study on possible allergic reactions in humans involved only 6 fish! Despite this scant evidence, the FDA is currently on the verge of approving the company’s GMO salmon.
Serious questions remain about eating fish engineered to grow faster and how genetically manipulated traits can impact human health, especially that of our most vulnerable populations such as pregnant mothers and children.
Please share this alert with friends you know who may be concerned, we need all the comments we can get and every voice counts!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team
1. “White House Reverses Itself, Lifts Political Block on FDA Approval of GMO Salmon”, Forbes, 12/21/2012
2. “Genetically Engineered Salmon: Environmental Documents, AquAdvantage Salmon Preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact” Food and Drug Administration (FDA), FDA.gov
3. “GE Animals Regulated Under New Animal Drug Provisions”, FDA.gov website, FDA Releases Final Guidance on Genetically Engineered Animals, January 15, 2009.
4. “Aqua Bounty Biotech Salmon OK to Eat-FDA Staff,” Reuters, September 3, 2010.
5. “Modified Salmon is Safe, FDA Says”, The New York Times, September 3, 2010
6. “Mutant Salmon Coming to a Kitchen Table Near You”, Fast Company, July 12, 2010
On December 21, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an Environmental Assessment (EA) with a “Finding of No Significant Impact” on the controversial AquaBounty AquaAdvantage transgenic salmon. The FDA action is widely viewed as confirmation that the Obama Administration is prepared to approve shortly the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption in the face of widespread opposition.
FDA says escape is unlikely and that the fish pose “no impact” to the environment. But each year millions of farmed salmon escape, out-competing wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems. Any approval of GE salmon would represent a serious threat to the survival of native salmon populations, many of which have already suffered severe declines related to salmon farms and other man-made impacts. Additionally, the human health impacts of eating GE fish, which would be the first-ever GE food animal, are entirely unknown.
Sign the petition to tell the Food and Drug Administration not to approve GE salmon AND, if the Obama Administration insists on approving these genetically engineered fish, it should require the fish to be labeled!
The public has only 60 days to comment on this misguided and dangerous action..