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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Labeling' Category


06
May

Nationwide GE Labeling Bill Introduced in Both Chambers of Congress

(Beyond Pesticides May 6, 2013) On Wednesday April 24, Senator Barbra Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter Defazio (D-OR) introduced companion legislation that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “clearly label” all genetically engineered (GE) whole and processed foods, including fish and other seafood. The bills, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act,  H.R. 1699 and S. 809, have 22 cosponsors in the House and 10 in the Senate. This national effort builds on the multiple ongoing campaigns to label GE foods at the state level. “Americans have the right to know what is in the food they eat so they can make the best choices for their families,” Senator Boxer said in a press release. “This legislation is supported by a broad coalition of consumer groups, businesses, farmers, fishermen and parents who all agree that consumers deserve more — not less — information about the food they buy.” Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), one of the bills co-sponsors, said of the labeling act, “Empowering consumers: consumers can choose to eat or not eat GMOs, or to pay more or less for GMOs.” He said he believes consumers have a right to know what they are eating.   I believe […]

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12
Mar

Whole Foods Says It Will Label GE Food in Stores within Five Years, as States Continue Push

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2013) Despite the loss of Proposition 37 in California last November, GMO labeling efforts are moving forward throughout the United States. Late last week Whole Foods Market announced its own plan to label food with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients sold in its stores, making it the  first grocery chain in the nation to do so. In addition to the recent introduction of a National GE labeling bill in Congress by Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), Hawaii, Vermont, and Minnesota join the ranks of numerous other states with pending GMO labeling legislation. Whole Foods’ plan  requires a label for all GE food sold in its stores within the next  five years. The retailer notes that the move was made in response to customers’ increased demand for labeled products. “Some of our manufacturers say they’ve seen a 15 percent increase in sales of products they have labeled [as non–GMO],” explains A.C. Gallo, Whole Foods president. The chain’s labeling requirements include all of its North American stores, as its European supermarkets already require this label. The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), an industry trade group that represents a number of major food retailers including Pepsico Inc., The Coca Cola Company, Kelloggs, […]

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28
Feb

Genetic Engineering Labeling Bill to be Introduced in U.S. Congress

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2013) Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) announced last Wednesday that he intends to co-sponsor a bill in Congress along with Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) to mandate the labeling of food containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients in the U.S. Earlier this week, the Maryland House Health and Government Operations Committee held a public hearing on state House Bill 0903, which would set requirements for labeling and disclosure of genetically engineered ingredients in food.  Other state labeling efforts have been launched in California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, Missouri and Washington. More than 90 percent of Americans believe that foods with GE ingredients should be required to be labeled; however, Rep. Polis recognizes that it is still going to be tough to get enough votes to pass. Corporate opponents have spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying against GE labeling, and a bill introduced in the state of Colorado by Representative Jeanne Labuda (D-Denver) to label GE foods was stopped after just five hours of testimony. The House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee in Denver voted 7-2 against the bill just a day after Rep. Polis’ announcement. Despite testimony from concerned consumers, parents, and health advocates, the committee said the […]

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07
Feb

New Mexico Senate Blocks GE Food Labeling Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2013) Despite passing the Senate Public Affairs Committee last week after an overwhelmingly positive discussion, Senate Bill 18 to amend the New Mexico Food Act, which would require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food and feed,  was “deemed lost” after a majority of the Senate, in an extremely rare action, voted on the Senate Floor not to adopt the committee’s report. Under Senate rules, this stopped the bill in its tracks and cut off any further debate or public input. “Even though SB 18 is dead this year, it’s clear that New Mexicans want and deserve a label that tells them whether or not their food has been genetically engineered,” said the bill’s author Senator Peter Wirth (D-25 Santa Fe). “I greatly appreciate the Public Affairs Committee’s feedback and discussion around the issue of labeling GE food, as well as Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez’s leadership on this issue. GE food labels are a right New Mexican consumers deserve and, while this defeat is a setback, this discussion will continue at the state and national level.” The bill passed the Public Affairs Committee five to three with Senators Craig Brandt (R-Dist 40), Ron Griggs (R-Dist […]

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07
Jan

SW Oregon To Vote on GE Crop Ban as New Mexico and Washington Consider Labeling Initiatives

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2013) After organic seed farmers found genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets planted by Syngenta AG, a multinational Swiss corporation, within four miles of their farms, a local branch of GMO-Free Oregon filed a petition to ban GE crops in Jackson County. Farmers have already been forced to throw away seed or till under crops so they do not accidentally use GE tainted crops. GMO-Free Jackson County, which is located in the Southeast corner of the state of Oregon collected 6,700 signatures with the county’s election offices in an effort to place a ballot measure on the May 2014 primary ballot.  4,462 signatures are required to get on the ballot, but they must be reviewed by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to make sure they are valid first. If too many signatures are ruled invalid, organizers will have one year to gather more. Another chapter of GMO-Free Oregon, GMO-Free Benton County, which is located in the Willamette Valley, has also been working on a ban of GE crops in its county. Allowing GE crops to be grown close to organic produce increases the risk of cross contamination, as pollen from GE crops has the potential to […]

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09
Nov

Prop 37 Defeated at Polls, but Battle Against GE Food Remains Strong

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2012) Proposition 37, the statewide proposition California voted on to label foods produced with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, was narrowly defeated at the polls on Wednesday night by a margin of 6.2 percentage points, however uncounted votes may shift the results. Had it been approved, Californians would have required labels for raw or processed food with GE ingredients and it would have prohibited the labeling and advertising of foods using the misleading term “natural.” Though campaign organizers and most news outlets are announcing defeat, the fight is not over yet. Organizers of the “Yes on 37” campaign have begun to regroup, focusing on 4.2 million Californians that voted yes and building a grassroots movement with 10,000 volunteers. Their campaign’s optimism is highlighted by their campaign statement that was released yesterday online: Yesterday, we showed that there is a food movement in the United States, and it is strong, vibrant and too powerful to stop. We always knew we were the underdogs, and the underdogs nearly took the day. Dirty money and dirty tactics may have won this skirmish, but they will not win the war. If Prop 37 passed, California would have been the first state […]

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02
Nov

Prop 37: Your Right to Know

(Beyond Pesticides, November 2, 2012) Despite the onslaught of advertisements saying otherwise, on November 6th California voters will be asked a simple yes or no question: Do you have a right to know if the food you purchase contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients? Industrial chemical corporations and conventional food manufacturers think your answer to this simple question could dent their profits, possibly damage their image. So they’re attempting to make it as confusing as possible for citizens to understand the issue. The “No on 37” campaign has flooded California’s airwaves with dubious statements and misrepresentations in attempts to scare consumers away from voting in their best interests. And they’ve made a difference. Back in March, a survey revealed that 91% of consumers nationwide favor the labeling of GE foods, a remarkable consensus that cut across party lines. Up until the past few weeks, before the “No on 37” ads started appearing, there was a 2:1 margin in favor or labeling GE foods. However, recent polls show Prop 37 in a dead heat. What happened? In early August, Beyond Pesticides reported on how pesticide manufacturers are “pushing hard” to block the passage of this proposition. At the time, the “No” campaign […]

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15
Oct

Corporate Assault Targets California Voters in Attempt to Stop GE Labeling Proposition

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2012) California’s Proposition 37, which would require mandatory labeling on genetically engineered (GE) foods, is facing a strong challenge as tens of millions of conventional food industry dollars have poured into television advertisements before the November 6th election. Poll results released Thursday by the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and the California Business Roundtable show that 48.3% of respondents would vote yes for the measure on Nov. 6, while 40.2% would vote no. Prop 37 was authored by James Wheaton, president of the Environmental Law Foundation. Earlier this year, the California Right to Know campaign gathered 971,126 petition signatures for Prop 37, nearly double the 555,236 signatures required to qualify for inclusion on the ballot. As it currently stands, over 40 countries around the world, including all of Europe, Japan, and China have the right to know whether they are eating GE food. While opponents of the initiative are attempting to mislead the public about the costs of the proposition, an economic assessment from Joanna M. Shepherd-Bailey, Ph.D. of Emory University School of Law reveals that the initiative would not result in any additional expense to the taxpayers of California; Prop 37 is self-enforced and […]

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03
Aug

Pesticide Corporations Pushing Hard to Stop GE Labeling in California

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2012) Pesticide manufactures don’t want you to know what’s in your food. According to filings released Tuesday through the office of California’s Secretary of State, chemical company lobby groups have so far spent $750,000 in efforts to block the passage of California’s Prop 37, which would require mandatory labeling on genetically engineered (GE) foods. Opponents of the proposition raised over one million dollars this year for the “Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme.” Members of this coalition include the ”˜big 6’ chemical companies Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, and BASF, which have spent $375,000 alone through their exclusive lobbying group Council for Biotechnology Information. Overlapping ”˜big 6’ membership, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), which also includes the corporations Pepsico Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, and Kelloggs, recently stated in a speech at the American Soybean Association that defeating the California initiative is “the single highest-priority of the GMA this year,” according to a story in The Huffington Post. GMA has also spent $375,000 this year lobbying against Prop 37. “The Big Six chemical & seed companies are working diligently to monopolize the food system at the expense of consumers, farmers and smaller seed companies,” said Philip […]

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29
Mar

Over One Million Comments Delivered to FDA Call for Labeling GE Foods

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2012) The Just Label It Campaign (JLI) announced this week that more than one million Americans submitted comments supporting its petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. The JLI Campaign, a national coalition of more than 500 partner organizations including Beyond Pesticides, submitted the petition in October 2011 to mobilize the overwhelming public support for such labeling. An astonishing 93% of consumers from a national survey in 2010 stated that they favored labeling of GE foods as is currently required in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China. As of the March 27 cut-off date, the JLI Campaign had generated approximately 1,078,000 signatures for its petition —the most comments ever submitted to FDA on a food-related subject. Gary Hirshberg, chairman of JLI Campaign partner Stonyfield, stated that, “In recent years, Americans have shown a real interest in knowing more about our food and now there is a clear mandate for the labeling of genetically engineered foods. This petition asks the FDA to stand up for the rights of average Americans, and not just a handful of powerful chemical companies. It’s time for the FDA […]

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15
Mar

Initiatives to Label Genetically Engineered Food Gain Momentum Across the Country

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2012) Earlier this week, 55 Members of Congress signed on to a letter that calls on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food. The bicameral letter, led by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), was written in support of a legal petition filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) on behalf of the Just Label It campaign and its nearly 400 partner organizations and businesses, including Beyond Pesticides. So far, over 950,000 people have submitted comments in support of labeling since CFS filed the legal petition in October 2011. The campaign also recently launched a new infographic, (pictured to the right) which visually explains why FDA should Just Label It. It is designed to clearly show the need for labeling of GE foods, and is convenient for sharing on-line and via social media. Meanwhile, on the West coast, The California Right to Know Initiative Campaign is also gaining momentum with its signature gathering efforts across the state to place a voter backed initiative on the November 2012 ballot that would mandate labeling of genetically engineered food. The effort is supported […]

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02
Feb

Beyond Pesticides Joins Consumer-Backed Effort to Label GE Food

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2011) Beyond Pesticides has partnered with the Just Label It (JLI) campaign, which is made up of a broad-based coalition of 460 partner organizations demanding that consumers have the right to know what is in our food. The campaign has already generated over a half-million consumer comments in support of a petition which calls for food that is produced with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients to disclose this information on the label. The petition was filed with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and written by attorneys at the Center for Food Safety. Sign the petition and submit your comments at www.justlabelit.org/takeaction. Beyond Pesticides’ goal is to push for labeling as a means of identifying products containing GE ingredients in an effort to sway consumer demand. The European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China, require labeling for GE foods. Recently, the German corporation BASF announced that it would stop developing genetically engineered products targeting the European market, in part due to low consumer demand. Given that a that 93% of Americans support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, Beyond Pesticides believes that we can have the same impact here as in Europe. In addition, the […]

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