More than HALF the foods at U.S. grocery stores are likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients, but you wouldn’t know it because the industry-run FDA doesn’t require labels for foods with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients (also called genetically modified organisms or GMOs).
In America, we pride ourselves on having choices and making informed decisions. Under current FDA regulations, we don’t have that choice when it comes to GE ingredients in the foods we purchase and feed our families. Labeling is essential for us to choose whether or not we want to consume or feed our families genetically engineered foods.
Focusing on transparency, trust, and truth, Gary Hirshberg (Stonyfield Farm President and Just Label It partner) pointed to the $30 million public relations campaign underway by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance to fight the negative impression of big agribusiness, including the companies that produce GE seeds. He emphasized that there should be a $30 million effort for transparency to build more truth and trust for consumers. He noted Americans are looking for it everywhere, which is evidenced by the growth in organic food, farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture, and the amount of coverage in major publications, like the New York Times, about our food system.
“This is one to watch…” says Slow Food Los Angeles
“Today in the United States, by the simple act of feeding ourselves, we unwittingly participate in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. Massive agro-chemical companies like Monsanto (Agent Orange) and Dow (Napalm) are feeding us genetically-modified food, GMOs, that have never been fully tested and aren’t labeled. This small handful of corporations is tightening their grip on the world’s food supply—buying, modifying, and patenting seeds to ensure total control over everything we eat. We still have time to heal the planet, feed the world, and live sustainably. But we have to start now! “
For more information (and another great video!), please visit The GMO Film Project. To help see this important work completed, please visit Kickstarter.
Hungarians plough under GMO Corn (themomu.wordpress.com)
The Organic Consumer’s Association, Millions Against Monsanto campaign is organizing a coordinated rally to demand labeling of GMOs. Events are being held around the United States, with the main event at the White House.
Current events are listed below. New locations are being added, so please check the campaigns’ Facebook page for updates in your area: http://on.fb.me/gv2VLS
MAIN EVENT: Washington, D.C., 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, The White House Sidewalk (The White House Sidewalk is the sidewalk between East and West Executive Avenues on the South side of Pennsylvania Avenue NW) 11am- 3pm
Dates for ALL locations is Saturday March 26, 2011 and include (alphabetically):
Albuquerque NM, UNM 12pm – 3pm Atlanta GA, Around Centennial Olympic Park across from the CNN Bldg. 11am – 4pm Ann Arbor MI, Southeast corner of Catherine Street and N. 4th Avenue 12pm – 3pm Austin TX, at The Capitol 12pm – 3pm Colorado Springs CO, Acacia Park 11am – 1:30pm Indianapolis IN, 200 W. Washington Street #220 12pm – 2pm Kansas City MO, The Plaza Downtown Kansas City 11am – 3pm Los Angeles CA (Westwood) Federal Bldg, 11000 Wilshire Blvd. 11am – 2pm Maui HI, in front of Long’s streetside on Ka’ahumanu Ave in Kahului 8am – 11am Milwaukee WI, Water and Wisconsin 11am – 2pm Montpelier VT, Outside City Hall 11am – 3pm New York City, City Hall steps, between Broadway and Park Row 12pm – 1pm Saint Paul MN, Capitol Building – South Mall 12pm – 2pm Salem OR, 900 Court St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301 12pm – 3pm Seattle WA, Westlake Park 12pm – 2pm Tampa Bay FL, Downtown 11am – 2pm
Rally for the Right to Know About GMOs in Your Food (news.change.org)
USDA DECISION ON GE ALFALFA LEAVES DOOR OPEN FOR CONTAMINATION, RISE OF SUPERWEEDS
ROGUE AGENCY CHOOSES “BUSINESS AS USUAL” OVER SOUND SCIENCE
CENTER ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE LEGAL CHALLENGE TO USDA’S FLAWED ASSESSMENT
The Center for Food Safety criticized the announcement today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it will once again allow unlimited, nation-wide commercial planting of Monsanto’s genetically-engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa, despite the many risks to organic and conventional farmers USDA acknowledged in its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). On a call today with stakeholders, Secretary Vilsack reiterated the concerns surrounding purity and access to non-GE seed, yet the Agency’s decision still places the entire burden for preventing contamination on non-GE farmers, with no protections for food producers, consumers and exporters.
“We’re disappointed with USDA’s decision and we will be back in court representing the interest of farmers, preservation of the environment, and consumer choice” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety. “USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment.”
On Monday, the Center sent an open letter to Secretary Vilsack calling on USDA to base its decision on sound science and the interests of farmers, and to avoid rushing the process to meet the marketing timelines or sales targets of Monsanto, Forage Genetics or other entities.
CFS also addressed several key points that were not properly assessed in the FEIS, among them were:
Liability, Implementation and Oversight — Citing over 200 past contamination episodes that have cost farmers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales, CFS demands that liability for financial losses incurred by farmers due to transgenic contamination be assigned to the crop developers. CFS also calls on USDA to take a more active oversight role to ensure that any stewardship plans are properly implemented and enforced.
Roundup Ready alfalfa will substantially increase herbicide use – USDA’s assessment misrepresented conventional alfalfa as utilizing more herbicides than it does, which in turn provided a false rationale for introducing herbicide-promoting Roundup Ready alfalfa. In fact, USDA’s own data shows that just 7% of alfalfa hay acres are treated with herbicides. USDA’s projections in the FEIS show that substantial adoption of Roundup Ready alfalfa would trigger large increases in herbicide use of up to 23 million lbs. per year.
Harms from glyphosate-resistant weeds – USDA’s sloppy and unscientific treatment of glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds ignored the significant contribution that RR alfalfa could make to their rapid evolution. USDA failed to analyze how GR weeds fostered by currently grown RR crops are increasing herbicide use; spurring more use of soil-eroding tillage; and reducing farmer income through increased weed control costs, an essential baseline analysis.
“We in the farm sector are dissatisfied but not surprised at the lack of courage from USDA to stop Roundup Ready alfalfa and defend family farmers,” said Pat Trask, conventional alfalfa grower and plaintiff in the alfalfa litigation.
The FEIS comes in response to a 2007 lawsuit brought by CFS, in which a federal court ruled that the USDA’s approval of GE alfalfa violated environmental laws by failing to analyze risks such as the contamination of conventional and organic alfalfa, the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds, and increased use of glyphosate herbicide, sold by Monsanto as Roundup. The Court banned new plantings of GE alfalfa until USDA completed a more comprehensive assessment of these impacts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals twice affirmed the national ban on GE alfalfa planting. In June 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa until and unless future deregulation occurs.
“Last spring more than 200,000 people submitted comments to the USDA highly critical of the substance and conclusions of its Draft EIS on GE Alfalfa,” said Kimbrell. “Clearly the USDA was not listening to the public or farmers but rather to just a handful of corporations.”