Category : Food Labeling

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California’s Vote on Prop 37 Will Send a Message to the FDA: Can We Trust Our Food System?

From Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blogger, Peter Lehner
 

Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. And in much of the world, they do, because of government labeling laws. For example, China, Russia, and India are among the 50-odd nations that require labeling of genetically modified foods, or GMOs. Here in America, however, we can’t get information on GMO foods. That’s because chemical companies and food manufacturers have a stranglehold on the system of government oversight that is supposed to ensure the safety of our food supply.

Read more here.

Proposition 37, GMO Labeling Mandate, Wins Support Of 100 Celebrity Chefs

From the Huffington Post Food Blog, 10/22/12

California’s GMO labeling ballot initiative Proposition 37 has already attracted lots of emphatic support and dissent from a host of voices, from Michael Pollan to Danny DeVito. But on Monday, a large contingent of people with a lot of credibility on food issues threw their weight behind the proposal: celebrity chefs.

Read more here.

Op-Ed: CA Right To Know Calls For Criminal Investigation Of ‘No on 37’

By Anne Sewell
Oct 18, 2012 in Food at DigitalJournal.com

 

Washington – In the latest in a line of misrepresentations and possible fraud, California Right to Know is calling for a criminal investigation of “No on 37? for misuse of the FDA Seal and a fabricated FDA quote, all in opposition to the labeling of GMOs.

Proposition 37 would require labeling of genetically engineered food in California. The opposition to Prop 37 is spending a whopping $35 million to discredit it. And they are doing this using misrepresentations and possibly even fraud.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/335080#ixzz29s1lpFBD

Coachella Valley California Women for Agriculture Host Public Forum: GMOs and Prop 37

The Coachella Valley Chapter of California Women for Agriculture will present an educational forum at 6PM tonight, October 18, at the Heritage Palms Clubhouse, 44-291 Heritage Palms Drive South.

This forum about California’s Proposition 37 and the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food is free-to-the-public and will provide valuable information about the initiative so you can make a well-informed decision at the ballot box. The expert panel will discuss GMOs and Proposition 37, for which the official ballot title is “Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling. Initiative Statute.”.

The scheduled speakers are Alan McHughen, a plant biotechnologist at UC  Riverside, Blythe farmer Grant Chaffin, and Nancy Madson, co-owner of Seawright  Custom Precast in Coachella.

Check out the Facebook page for the event here, and RSVP to rrios@agloans.com.

Volunteer: Your Right To Know and Labeling of GMOs

October 17, 2012

CallFor37.png

On November 6, Californians will vote on Proposition 37, which will require all genetically modified foods to be clearly labeled. This is an historic campaign – it will mean that for the first time in the United States, consumers will have the right to know what’s in the food they eat and feed to their families.

Nearly one million Californians put Prop 37 on the ballot, and over 90% of Americans say they support labeling GMOs.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that a host of pesticide and junk food companies, led by Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical, have committed nearly $40 million to defeating our efforts.

That’s why we need your help.

Can you sign up for the national phone bank to help reach one million more Californians before Election Day, November 6?

Proposition 37 is a common sense ballot measure that will require food sold in California to be labeled if it contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Unfortunately, opponents in the pesticide and junk food industry aren’t going to let this pass without a fight, and they’re spending a million dollars a day to confuse voters. They’d rather spend millions than let consumers make an informed decision about what they eat. Even more disturbing, no long term studies have ever proven genetically engineered foods safe – not for you, not for your family, not for anyone.

Across the country, passionate volunteers and supporters are joining together to make sure that Proposition 37 becomes law.

Please join the effort and sign up to volunteer for your Right to Know today!

This is the best chance that we have ever had to label genetically engineered food in the United States. For decades, companies like Monsanto and Dow have stopped efforts to inform consumers about what they eat. It’s time for the US to join more than 50 other countries that already require labeling, but it won’t happen without you.

Please volunteer today. Victory is within reach – with your help.

What Will You Do for the Revolution? Prop 37, D-Day for the Food Movement

By Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now

 

For the past 50 years there’s been a growing awareness about the relationship between the land, agriculture, chemicals, food, health and the environment. Even before Rachel Carson penned The Silent Spring, Albert Howard and J. I. Rodale discovered the virtuous circle of organic and sustainable agriculture and the dynamic relationship between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people.

Read more here…

Russia Suspends Imports of Genetically Engineered Corn in Wake of Rat Study; France Orders Probe of GMOs

Yes on Proposition 37, California Right to Know
For Immediate Release:  September 25, 2012?
Contact:  Stacy Malkan, 510-542-9224stacy@carighttoknow.org?

Russia today suspended the import and use of Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn, following a study released last week that found serious health problems in rats fed this corn, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Last week, the French government called for an investigation into GMOs and said it would seek an immediate ban on European Union imports if the findings indicate a detrimental impact on humans. The French agriculture Minister has asked European authorities to abandon the use of GMO crops.

“Across the world, there are heightening concerns about the health risks of eating genetically engineered foods,” said Proposition 37 Campaign Manager Gary Ruskin. “There is a giant question mark hanging over these foods and their health risks.  For those of us in California, the case for labeling of genetically engineered foods has never been stronger.”

The long-term rat study conducted by Gilles-Eric Seralini and published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, looked at the most common type of genetically engineered corn in the American diet in combination with the commonly used herbicide Roundup. The study found serious health problems in the treated rats including mammary tumors, liver and kidney problems and premature death.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not reacted to the study.

California voters will decide this fall whether to require labeling of genetically engineered foods sold in the state – a requirement already in place in 50 other countries.

Monsanto has supported GMO labeling in Europe but is spending millions to defeat it here in California.

For more information about Proposition 37, see www.carighttoknow.org

 

Paid for by Yes on 37 For Your Right to Know if Your Food Has Been Genetically Engineered  Supported by Consumer Advocates Makers of Organic Products and California Farmers, Major funding by Mercola Health Resources LLC and Organic Consumers Fund. 5940 College Ave, Suite F , Oakland, CA 94618, United States

G.M.O.’s: Let’s Label ’Em

September 16, 2012

California’s Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, will require the labeling of genetically modified (GM) and genetically engineered (GE) foods.

The list of those organizations, newspapers and pundits calling for support of Prop 37 continues to grow. The latest voice to join the chorus is Mark Bittman, blogger for the New York Times. Read his editorial from the September 16th edition here.

An Open Letter to Consumer Reports: 10 Misinformation Hazards in Your “10 Surprising Dangers of Vitamins and Supplements” Article

By James J. Gormley

It is personally disappointing for me that Consumer Reports, the flagship of the respected marketplace-empowerment organization, Consumers Union, has once again seen fit to arm the American consumer with detrimental misinformation regarding safe, beneficial food supplements.

In the alarmist piece which appears in the September 2012 issue, the anti-supplement subtitle reads: “Don’t assume they’re safe because they’re all natural.”

Here are the “10 Surprising Dangers” along with some accurate information and perspective:

“1. Supplements are not risk free.”
With 3,000 deaths and 128,000 hospitalizations a year from food poisoning, it is clear that nothing in life is risk-free, but we already knew this. It would be of better service to do an expose on the dangers of properly prescribed pharmaceuticals, which injure over 1 million and kill over 100,00 Americans each year in hospitals alone. The subtitle on a prescription drugs-focused article could read: “Don’t assume they’re safe because they’re FDA-approved.”

The fact of the matter is that food supplements are inherently benign and pharmaceuticals are inherently dangerous; they are part of a completely different risk paradigm. With the millions of supplements sold and safely used every year, dietary supplements have an enviable consumer safety record.

Since the 1994 enactment of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), FDA has had the authority to remove any dietary supplement from the market if FDA shows that it presents “a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury” or that it contains “a poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health.” In fact, the FDA can act immediately against any product that poses an “imminent hazard to public health or safety.” With the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011, the FDA’s mandatory recall authority was affirmed and expanded.

Recently released data from risk-management expert Ron Law confirmed that food supplements are by far the safest substances that people are exposed to daily (http://tinyurl.com/ron-law-data).

“2. Some supplements are really prescription drugs.”
Supplements are a class of food, not drugs, so drugs masquerading as supplements is a drug adulteration problem best handled by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), something which I and Citizens for Health have been calling for since early 2010 (http://tinyurl.com/dea-should-take-over), which is now being supported by industry as well (http://tinyurl.com/dea-and-steroids).

“3. You can overdose on vitamins and minerals.”
With only a few exceptions (e.g., iron, selenium, zinc, vitamin A), even with the dosages found in high-potency supplements there is a window of safety on supplements of several hundred percent; in fact, most supplements are so safe that no upper limit can even be determined. What we really have to worry about are the over 13,000 truly dangerous prescription drugs on the market with known side effects.

“4. You can’t depend on warning labels.”
True, but since dietary supplements are inherently benign with a margin of safety a mile wide, there is virtually nothing to warn consumers about. To be conservative, many products carry cautions relating to consumption by children and pregnant/breastfeeding women, but this is more to protect companies from actions stemming from gross misuse.

“5. None are proven to cure major diseases.”
The same can be said for prescription drugs. And even if they did, supplement manufacturers would not be allowed to tell consumers about it. Regardless, supplements are complements to the diet not substitutes for healthy food and physical activity.

“6. Buy with caution from botanicas.”
I would venture to say that apart from cities bordering Mexico, over 99.999% of herbal products are sold through mainstream channels of trade. We could also say “don’t buy prescription pain killers” on the black market or from peddlers in back alleys, but some level of common sense usually prevails.

“7. Heart and cancer protection: not proven.”
The American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in marine-based omega-3s, and the U.S. government has approved health claims for vitamin D and calcium supplementation. In 2005, Harvard researchers estimated that low intake of omega-3s in the U.S. diet accounted for 72,000 to 96,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease. There have been numerous animal studies showing direct cancer prevention with omega-3s and epidemiological studies associating high levels of dietary omega-3s with reduced rates of cancer.

“8. Choking.”
Now Consumer Reports is really reaching. Anybody who tries to dry-swallow any pill can experience a gag reflex, which is not a problem unique to any one class of products.

“9. Some natural products are anything but.”

Most dietary ingredients are analogues of natural extracts; technologists are not standing around with wooden mallets, mortars and pestles. There are only one or two cases where a true synthetic is not as efficacious as a natural source nutrient, and that is with vitamin E.

“10. You may not need supplements at all.”
But we need drugs? For decades the USDA has shown that most of us do not get anywhere near a basic level of vitamins and minerals from the standard American diet, so it would be a rare person indeed who would not stand to benefit from a multivitamin/multimineral supplement at the very least.

Although Consumers Union has a long, and illustrious, track record in advocating for consumers, Consumer Reports appears to have a bug in its bonnet regarding dietary supplements, either that or single-copy newsstand sales soar when “supplements are bad” stories are run.

This is unfortunate, since scare-mongering re safe, well-regulated and effective dietary supplements will, at best, only serve to unfairly cause consumers to wrongly distrust a beneficial class of products and, at worst, drive even more Americans away from responsible self-care into the welcoming arms of drug-happy conventional medicine.

That’s not what I call consumer advocacy.