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Record-Breaking One Million Americans Tell FDA: We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food

New National Survey Shows Majority of Americans United

on Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Media contact:
Sue McGovern
sue@mcgov.com
Direct: 781-648-7157
Cell: 781-315-3400
 

Washington, D.C. (March 27, 2012) – The Just Label It (JLI) Campaign announced today that a record-breaking one million Americans of all political persuasions have called on the FDA to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. The campaign also announced a new national survey revealing that Americans across the political spectrum stand united in support of labeling food that has been genetically engineered. This is a striking contrast to the partisan divisions plaguing our political system.

“Pink slime, deadly melons, tainted turkeys, and BPA in our soup have put us all on notice that what we eat and feed our families is critically important,” said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group, a JLI partner. “Americans overwhelmingly demand safety, transparency and labeling of genetically engineered foods. It’s time for the FDA to come clean and restore public confidence in our food system.”

Since October, JLI, (www.justlabelit.org), the national campaign to require GE-food labeling and its more than 500 partner organizations have spearheaded an historic number of public comments for a GE-foods labeling petition (Docket #FDA 2011-P-0723-001/CP). March 27 is the date when the FDA is required to respond to the petition.  It took less than 180 days to accumulate the record number of comments.

“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 to give Americans the same rights held by citizens in forty nations, including all of our major trade partners, to know whether our foods have been genetically modified.  The FDA needs to restore confidence in our food and our right to know about the food we eat and feed our families,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield, a JLI partner.

 

New Survey Results: Motherhood, Apple Pie and GE Food Labeling

Consumer support for GE-foods labeling in the U.S. is nearly unanimous, according to the political opinion survey on GE food labeling conducted by The Mellman Group on behalf of JLI. Explained pollster Mark Mellman, “Few topics other than motherhood and apple pie can muster over 90 percent support, but labeling GE-foods is one of those few views held almost unanimously.”  “The survey found nearly all Democrats (93% favor, 2% oppose), Independents (90% favor, 5% oppose) and Republicans (89% favor, 5% oppose) in favor of labeling. The study also revealed that support for labeling is robust and arguments against it have little sway. (For the survey findings, visit www.justlabelit.org)

Colorado mother and author Robyn O’Brien, who founded the AllergyKids Foundation, a JLI partner, after one of her children had an allergic reaction to breakfast, said:  “Americans are responding to the call for GE foods labeling because they want more information for their families. Like allergen labeling, GE-food labels would provide essential and possibly life-saving information for anyone with a food allergy. Being responsible for the health and safety of my children, I believe it’s my right to know about the food I feed my family…from allergens, to ‘pink slime’ to GE foods.”

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About Just Label It

JUST LABEL IT (JLI) is a national coalition of 500 diverse organizations dedicated to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as genetically modified, or GMOs.  The Just Label It message is simple: consumers have a right to know about our food so we can make informed choices about what we eat and feed our families. For updated information, visit the Just Label It website, (www.justlabelit.org)

What is a GMO?

“Genetically engineered foods,” “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have been created through application of transgenic, gene-splicing techniques that are part of biotechnology. This relatively new science allows DNA (genetic material) from one species to be transferred into another species, creating transgenic organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even viral gene pools. The mixing of genes from different species that have never shared genes in the past is what makes GMOs and GE crops so unique. It is impossible to create such transgenic organisms through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Citizens for Health Joins “Just Label It” Campaign

Washington, D.C.Citizens for Health is excited to announce we have joined an effort with hundreds of organizations representing millions of Americans called the “Just Label It: We Have A Right to Know” campaign. The core of the campaign is a petition to the FDA that calls for products that use ingredients produced with genetic engineering to disclose this information on the label.

If you agree, as we do, that you have a right to know if the food you are eating has been genetically engineered, join us in this effort. We must make sure the FDA hears loud and clear that Americans want access to truthful, non-misleading information about what we put into our bodies – we want GE foods labeled.

Sign the petition now!

Please share this opportunity for action with any people you know who share your interest in knowing what is in your food.

And take a moment to watch this important video: Just Label It: We Have a Right to Know

Millions of American Consumers are Food Identity Theft Victims

 Food Packaging Deceptions Threaten National Food Integrity

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Primary Media Contact:
Kevin Sanchez                                                          
Hollenbeck Associates                                              
(415) 227-1150 ext. 10                                                   
kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Even as more American families are trying to make healthier diet choices, many duplicitous food makers are contributing to the spread of Food Identity Theft.  Despite government safeguards and restrictions, dozens of food producers are misleading consumers with deceptive packaging or attempting to conceal questionable ingredients on labels.

While some of the deceptions are subtle, others are much more serious. Some make claims that are simply untrue, while others are in direct violation of Food & Drug Administration policies. Food Identity Theft issues include:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup trying to change its name to “corn sugar” in order to conceal itself from consumers;
  • “Blueberry” muffin mixes, breakfast cereals and pastry products that have absolutely no blueberries in them;
  • Spaghetti sauces “Made from California Vine-ripened Tomatoes” that are made using industrial tomato concentrate (tomato paste and water).

“These companies are knowingly trying to pull a con on American families,” said Jim Turner, who chairs the non-profit consumer protection group, Citizens for Health. “We have the right to know what’s in the products we’re buying, and that means clear, accurate, and truthful package labeling.”

Citizens for Health has launched a new website, www.FoodIdentityTheft.com, to alert consumers about these deceptive practices. With important information, links to the latest news stories, videos, and regulatory updates, site visitors will be aware of the most flagrant Food Identity Theft culprits.

Numerous consumer action groups, including the National Consumer League, the Consumer Federation of America, and the Center for Food Safety, have all publicly denounced Food Identity Theft deceptions.  Many businesses, including Whole Foods Markets, Jason’s Deli and Stonyfield Farm, actively support truth in food labeling practices.

“Americans who want to eat healthier need to know that companies like Betty Crocker, Smucker’s, Kellogg’s, Contadina and General Mills, and trade groups like the Corn Refiners Association, are attempting to mislead them on food package labels,” said Linda Bonvie, Senior Editor at FoodIdentityTheft.com.

About Citizens for Health

Funded by concerned consumers, non-profit partners, food growers, and businesses, Citizens for Health is a non-profit organization that provides over 100,000 supporters with consumer news, action alerts, and ways to demand access to healthy food, non-toxic products, and truthful, non-misleading health information.  More information is available at www.citizens.org.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a representative from Citizens for Health, please contact Kevin Sanchez of Hollenbeck Associates at 415-227-1150 ext 110 or kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com.

 

March for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food 10/1/11 – 10/16/11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@right2knowmarch.org

Right2Know March Announces Events During 313 Mile Walk to the White House for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Coalition Demands a “Reset” by
Obama Administration on GMO Labeling

 

NEW YORK, NY – In two days a diverse coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals will begin to march from the Historic Flatbush Food Co-op in Brooklyn, NY to the gates of the White House to ask the Obama Administration to support labeling of genetically engineered foods, also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs”. The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, DC October 1-16 as hundreds of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles to the White House. The route and details on daily events can be viewed at Right2KnowMarch.org.

“Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union. “Genetically engineered foods contain untested novel foreign compounds that can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join the Oct 1 NYC Right2Know March kick-off rally at Prospect Park at 11am to 1pm followed by marchers walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to the United Nations.

In addition to daily marching, the following are major events planned by the Right2Know March:
RALLY – 1-Oct R2K Kick Off Event,11am – 1pm Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
RALLY – 3 Oct, 10:45-11:45am Autumn Harvest Health Food 1625 East 2nd St, Scotch – Plains, NJ
MEET-UP – 3 Oct 4pm – 5pm George Street Coop Natural Foods 89 Morris St, New Brunswick, NJ
RALLY – 4 Oct, 2:15 -3:15pm Whole Earth Center 360 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ
MEET-UP – 5 Oct, 12:45 – 1:45pm Big Bear Natural Foods 322 West Trenton Ave #1, Morrisville, PA
NON-GMO FOAM RALLY – 6 Oct, 3:35 – 4:05pm Weavers Way Coop 559 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA
MEET-UP – 6 Oct, 7:05 – 8:05pm Mariposa Food Coop 4726 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA
RALLY – 7 Oct, 12 noon – midnight – The Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, 3819 Hamilton St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
MEET-UP – 8 Oct, 11:45 – 12:45pm Martindale Natural Market 1172 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, PA
MEET-UP – 9 Oct, 10-2pm Newark Farmers Market, Market East Plaza, 280 E. Main Street, Newark, DE
RALLY – 13-Oct, 11am – 6pm – Maryland Institute College of Art, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD
WORLD FOOD DAY RALLY – 16 Oct Concluding Rally 12:30pm to 5pm at the White House in Lafayette Park 1600 H Street, NW Washington, DC Marchers estimated to arrive at 1pm. Event to feature Mom’s Panel and conclusion of the march

“The Right2Know March is an unprecedented effort to win genuine transparency on Genetically Engineered foods,” says Katherine DiMatteo of IFOAM and a lead coordinator of the Right2Know March. “Most Americans agree they have a right to know what is in the food they put in their own and their children’s bodies, but current federal policy favors the pesticide industry and hides the facts,” says DiMatteo. “It’s time to reset US policy on GMOs.”

Helping lead the march is Joseph Wilhelm, President of Rapunzel and Indian activist, Dr. Vanadana Shiva, both veteran GMO campaigners who twice marched across Europe for controls on GMOs and in support of GMO labeling, which is required in the EU. They will be joined at the events in NYC and Washington, DC as well as along the march, by advocates, media personalities, farmers and business leaders who will speak out for GMO labeling, including: Andrew Kimbrell (Founder, Center for Food Safety, Frances Moore Lapp? (Author, Diet for a Small Planet), Michael Hansen (Senior Scientist, Consumers Union), George Siemon (CEO, Organic Valley) and many others.

“No matter what you believe about GMOs, the bottom line is that we have a right to know what is in our food so we can all make better decisions for the health of our families,” says TV host and green lifestyle author Sara Snow.

Mothers are also marching and will speak out at the World Food Day Rally at the White House on October 16. “Without labeling, consumers have no way of knowing if the foods they are feeding their families have been genetically engineered to contain new proteins,” says Robyn O’Brien, author and founder of the Allergy Kids Foundation. “Because there is no definitive test that can be relied upon to predict whether a newly expressed protein might trigger an allergic reaction, it is important that genetically engineered foods are labeled so that the food allergic population can exercise caution and make an informed choice about what they eat. GMO labeling would provide essential and possibly life-saving information.”

Right2Know March spokespeople are available to debate GMO manufacturers on the labeling issue. “After 30 years and billions of dollars in research, only two principal GMO traits have been successfully developed: herbicide tolerance and insecticide production. Despite industry promises, there are no GMO traits currently on the market for increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other humanitarian or environmental benefit,” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project, fiscal sponsor of the Right2Know March. “Americans should have the right to opt out of this experiment, and this march is about standing up and demanding that freedom.”

Founding organizations of the Right2Know march include the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), the Non-GMO Project and the Sustainable Living Roadshow, who are joined by founding organic brands Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Rapunzel. In recent months, numerous titans of the organic and natural food sector have become sponsors of the Right2Know March including: Nature’s Path; Organic Valley; Stonyfield; United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI); Nutiva; Kamut International; and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.

Members of the media are encouraged to follow the entire organizing effort and report on our progress. Please sign up for email alerts through our website or call Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 to arrange interviews or for in person requests. Members of the public should call the Right2Know March Hotline: 202.557.5164 or email erica@right2knowmarch.org .

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Additional sponsors and affiliates include: Weleda; Biodynamic Farming and Garden Association; Center for Food Safety; Food Democracy Now; Organic Trade Association; The Organic Center; Independent Natural Food Retailers Association; National Cooperative Grocers Association; Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; Northeast Organic Farming Association’s of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut; National Organic Coalition; Organic Farming research Foundation; Food and Water Watch; Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture; Organic Consumers Association; Sustainable Food Trust; Truth in Labeling Coalition; Organic Seed Growers Association; Institute for Responsible Technology; and Cuatro Puertas.

Take Action! Senate Bill Addresses Antibiotics in Animal Feed

Urge Congress to Preserve Antibiotics for Medical Treatment

by Helena Bottemiller, Food Safety News (action links added)

A bipartisan group of senators re-introduced a bill late last week aimed at preserving the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics by limiting their use in food animal feed. In the face of the rising threat of antibiotic resistance, public health experts and activists have pushed for regulation to limit the subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

Recent estimates indicate around 80 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are given to food animals.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the primary sponsor of The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, otherwise known as PAMTA, reintroduced the measure to address “the rampant overuse of antibiotics in agriculture that creates drug-resistant bacteria, an increasing threat to human beings.”

Click Here to Contact Congress NOW!

“The effectiveness of antibiotics for humans is jeopardized when they are used to fatten healthy pigs or speed the growth of chickens,” said Senator Feinstein.  “This is a basic food safety initiative that would phase out the misuse of these drugs so that food in supermarkets across America will not spread strains of drug-resistant bacteria.”

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), all collaborated on the legislation.

According to Feinstein’s office, in 2010, the senator was contacted by the Don family of Ramona, California.  Their son, Carlos, “a bright and athletic 12-year old,” became gravely ill with an infection while at summer camp and did not respond to antibiotics.

“It took doctors 48 hours to find a medication that could kill the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, that had infected his body.  By that time, Carlos’ lungs, kidneys, liver, intestine and heart had failed.  With only some brain activity left, Carlos lost his life because the antibiotics that hospitals have relied on for 80 years no longer worked,” said Feinstein’s office in a statement late last week.

“No parent should ever undergo the heartbreak and the tragedy that the Don’s went through,” said Feinstein.  “My bill makes important changes to the use of antibiotics and ensures that operations on a farm do not negatively impact the health and well being of families across the nation.”

The bill Feinstein is championing, PAMTA, mirrors a bill introduced by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the only microbiologist serving in Congress. The legislation:

— Phases out the non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in livestock;
— Requires new applications for animal antibiotics to demonstrate the use of the antibiotic will not endanger public health;
— Does not restrict the use of antibiotics to treat sick livestock or to treat pets.

“PAMTA will limit the agricultural use of seven types of antibiotics that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as critically important in human medicine to ensure that antibiotic-resistance is not inadvertently accelerated,” according to Feinstein’s office.

The Senate version of the legislation has 17 cosponsors and the House version has 60. Slaughter has been introducing a version of the bill since 2007.

The animal agriculture industry maintains that antibiotics are a critical tool for preventing disease and promoting animal health and welfare, casting doubt on the link between the sector’s use of antibiotics and human health issues.

Click here to send your message to Congress NOW!

Cloned Salmon – Labeling Is Not the Issue: Safety and Ethics Are

Two days of public hearings have passed on the approval of the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption, the AquAdvantage GE salmon — including a U.S. Food and drug Administration (FDA) hearing today to discuss whether or not these GE fish should be labeled as such if they are approved; a 60-day public comment period on the labeling issue will be open until November 22, 2010. But the question of labeling presupposes that allowing is a done deal, despite the fact that the FDA has made up its mind in the absence of proof of any kind, much less anything resembling definitive evidence of safety: for salmon, for the environment and for humans.