Category : Food Labeling

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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.

“Health at Gunpoint: The FDA’s Silent War Against Health Freedom”

What forces and interests direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and why is this out-of-control law enforcement agency working so hard to take dietary supplements out of our hands?

These are the central questions explored by Citizens for Health’s very own VP and Senior Policy Advisor, James Gormley, in Health at Gunpoint: The FDA’s Silent War Against Health Freedom, what we at CFH hope you will consider to be a groundbreaking book that brings into clear focus the silent war now being waged by the FDA against all of us:  American consumers.

Please view this new video about the book:

The FDA was established in 1906 to protect the U.S. public from misbranded and adulterated foods, drinks and drugs. While the original intent may have been honorable, over the years the execution of this mission has become tainted by lobbyists and money.

In Health at Gunpoint, James Gormley presents a history of both the natural foods movement and of this over-reaching Federal agency and examines how the agency has changed over the years. He then looks at the FDA’s most controversial decisions and the troubling reasons behind them.

Why did the FDA try to shut down the supplements industry by getting most supplements classified as drugs? Why did the FDA drag its feet on folic acid fortification while thousands of babies were born with devastating birth defects? Why did the FDA try to get life stages (such as pregancy and aging) and normal discomforts (such as headaches) classified as diseases? Why are irradiated and genetically-altered foods not labeled as such? Why does the FDA favor synthetic additives and dangerous drugs over natural ingredients and dietary supplements? Why did the FDA propose a guidance that would cripple the health food industry as we know it today?

Today, as in the past, the FDA is poised to make decisions that would have a major impact on the health of all Americans. Health at Gunpoint not only sheds light on what is happening, but also explains what you can do about it.

In many European countries, nutritional supplements are now available by prescription only. If you don’t think harmonization-friendly, anti-consumer, restrictions can be put in place here, you may be in for a rude awakening.

Health at Gunpoint will help prepare you for the coming fight!

In A Victory For Consumers, FDA Turns Thumbs Down On “Corn Sugar” Alias For HFCS

Thanks to Linda Bonvie, blogger for the Citizens for Health project Food Identity Theft, for the following post.

For the past several months, we here at Food Identity Theft have urged our readers to submit their comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the Corn Refiners Association’s petition to allow the name “high fructose corn syrup” to be officially changed to “corn sugar.”

The last word on this hot-button issue has just come down from the FDA itself.  And it’s “no.”

The CRA will now have to quit referring to high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, as “corn sugar,” which it has been doing these days at every opportunity, apparently on the assumption that its 2010 petition would ultimately be granted despite the overwhelming opposition of consumers.

But the FDA had other ideas – the main one being that sugar is defined as “a solid, dried, and crystallized food; whereas syrup is an aqueous solution or liquid food.” (Duh!!!) Or so the agency informed CRA President Audrae Erickson in a letter dated May 30 (Wednesday) and signed by Michael M., Landa, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which also states that “…your petition does not provide sufficient grounds for the agency to authorize ‘corn sugar’ as an alternate common or usual name for HFCS.”

While the Corn Refiners Association had ignored a letter last year from the FDA that asked them to stop using “corn sugar” as a synonym for HFCS, which Erickson did a total of 10 times in two TV interviews last week, the official denial of the name change should now make such substitution verboten in the CRA’s commercials and communications. (In fact, one can’t help but wonder whether her blatant and repeated flouting of the FDA’s directive finally spurred the agency to act on this long-standing petition).

The FDA’s rejection of the proposed name change also quite clearly reaffirms “corn sugar” as a “standard of identity” for dextrose (an ingredient with NO fructose) and declines the CRA’s request that “corn sugar” be eliminated as an alternate name for dextrose.

“We are not persuaded by the arguments in the petition that consumers do not associate ‘corn sugar’ with dextrose,” notes the letter. “The term ‘corn sugar’ has been used to describe dextrose for over 30 years.”  It further points out that “’corn sugar’ has been known to be an allowed ingredient for individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, who have been advised to avoid ingredients that contain fructose. Because such individuals have associated ‘corn sugar’ to be an acceptable ingredient to their health when ‘high fructose corn syrup’ is not, changing the name for HFCS to ‘corn sugar’ could put these individuals at risk and pose a public health concern.”

The latter concern has been raised in a number of the comments submitted to the FDA by members of the public, which ran against the petition 100 to 1. Most, however, expressed indignation over the idea that an industry group would try to attach a new, innocuous-sounding identity to an increasingly unpopular ingredient that so many consumers have been going out of their way to avoid in an attempt to make it appear to be something it’s not.

So confident were the corn refiners in the pending approval of their petition, that in a press release issued last week they said, “Transitional co-labeling, such as ‘Corn Sugar (High Fructose Corn Syrup),’ and CRA’s education campaign will ensure consumers are well informed about the name change.”

While the FDA may well have denied the petition of its own volition, one can’t help but credit the growing public outcry over this deliberate attempt to confuse consumers (which, perversely, has been presented as an attempt to eliminate consumer “confusion”) with having set the stage for this major victory over attempted food identity theft.

To read the entire FDA response to the CRA’s petition, click here.