gmo-food-labeling

There’s more to Whole Foods’ decision to label all their GMO products by 2018 than appears at first glance.

Their five year plan to label genetically-modified ingredients is a victory — albeit a cautious victory — that is only one step in taking dangerous and untested genetically-modified foods off American plates and stopping biotech’s takeover of the world’s food supply.

While grassroots pressure and consumer activism — including investigative reports by Infowars and Organic Spies — has indeed played an important role in pressuring the grocer to change its course, further research shows that the company is reacting to pressure from above as well as from below.

Biotech and Big Food interests teamed up to spend more than $45 million to defeat California’s Prop 37, which would have mandated the labeling of GMO ingredients.

Watch my report on this important issue:

But now, many of the biggest conglomerates are trying to avoid the cost of funding future fights against GMO labeling, which could spread to 20 states or the local level and beyond.

BIG FOOD LOBBIES FOR LABELING?

What seemed impossible was happening in Washington in early January 2013: Wal-Mart, General Mills, Pepsi-Frito Lay, Mars, Coca-Cola and other major food conglomerates were meeting in secret with the FDA to lobby FOR a mandatory federal GMO labeling law.

Ronnie Cummins, of Organic Consumers Association, who exposed the meetings asked, “Is Big Food just cozying up to the FDA so they can derail the growing organic and anti-GMO movement, and finagle a federal labeling law so toothless it won’t be worth the ink it takes to sign it?

Then, with Washington States’ labeling initiative in mind, some 20 of the biggest food companies, including Wal-Mart, PepsiCo and ConAgra, met with labeling advocates at the Meridian Institute in January to discuss strategies on quelling consumer uprisings over GMO. The NY Times reported:

“The big food companies found themselves in an uncomfortable position after Prop. 37, and they’re talking among themselves about alternatives to merely replaying that fight over and over again,” said Charles Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University who attended the meeting.

“They spent a lot of money, got a lot of bad press that propelled the issue into the national debate and alienated some of their customer base, as well as raising issues with some trading partners,” said Mr. Benbrook, who does work on sustainable agriculture.

So the outstanding question is obvious. Why would the same industry that paid big bucks to defeat Prop 37 and keep their heavily GMO-sourced junk foods unlabeled turn around and pressure the FDA for federal labeling laws?

According to Michele Simon (AppetiteforProfit.com), the use of federal regulators — already in the pockets of Big Agra and biotech — could be useful in staving off grassroots efforts aimed at state battles that may yield stricter laws, including liability and outright bans of GMO. Simon writes:

“But missing from both of these accounts is the ominous potential downside of federal GMO labeling: a sneaky legal concept known as preemption. […] Preemption simply means that a higher law trumps a lower law: so federal trumps state, and state trumps local. But in practice, it’s industry’s way of ensuring uniformity and stopping grassroots efforts. How I do know this? From years of experience of seeing it happen in various public health issues.”

If the biggest industry players are ready to cave on GMO labeling, Whole Foods then knows that it MUST move towards mandatory labeling. Why? As much as we’d like to believe in altruism or the preeminence of consumer pressure, it is most likely because Whole Foods knows its entire business image is based around healthy and ‘organic’ foods.

Thus, in making themselves the first big grocer to require the labeling of all genetically-modified ingredients, Whole Foods preserves its reputation among shoppers who are making an effort to avoid GMOs, and clearly they realize that customer trust and the perception of integrity is key to remaining profitable in a changing market.

While any labeling effort is positive in the struggle for the right to know what we’re eating, activists and consumers alike should be wary of half-measures implemented by Washington appointees who represent anything but our best interests.

Only vigilance will keep enough pressure on industries to one day roll back insane, untested laboratory foods and make it possible for the average citizen to eat real food.

When Voters Don't Vote

When Voters Don’t Vote

Non-voters are the best , if unintended, ally of extreme partisans. When people don’t vote, they don’t “send a message;” they just magnify the importance of people who do vote – and the often partisan views they espouse.

Discouraged, alienated or disinterested voters undermine democratic processes as much as more as “true believers” on either end of the political spectrum. When the edges of…

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GMOs are Everywhere and Should be Labeled, Study Finds

By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams, Oct. 7, 2014

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are present in many common products including breakfast cereals, chips, and infant formula–including some that carry misleading labels like “natural,” according to a study released Tuesday by the nonprofit Consumer Reports.

Based on its findings, combined with the results of a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center showing nearly three-quarters of all Americans seek to avoid GMOs when they shop, Consumer Reports is calling for mandatory labeling of GMOs in food and a ban on the meaningless “natural” label.

“Federal law already requires labeling that lets consumers know whether foods have been previously frozen, made from concentrate, pasteurized, or irradiated, and we believe the label should also say if food is genetically engineered,” said Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports.

The nonprofit, which is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization, tested more than 80 different processed foods containing corn or soy–the two most widely grown GMO crops in the U.S.–between April and July 2014. It found that nearly all of the samples of products that did not make any non-GMO-related claim on the package did, in fact, contain substantial amounts of genetically modified corn or soy.

The study also revealed that while the independently certified “Organic” and “Non-GMO Project Verified” labels are reliable, “no-GMO” or “non-GMO” claims made by a manufacturer have no standard definition, don’t require independent verification, and are therefore less trustworthy.

Most notably, although more than 60 percent of people in the Consumer Reports national survey said they believed that “natural” means that a product does not contain controversial ingredients, testing did not bear out that correlation. According to Consumer Reports, “virtually all of the samples we tested of products that made only a ‘natural’ claim did have a substantial amount of GMOs” (though some have since removed the claim or have become Non-GMO Project Verified).

“The confusing nature of this claim is just one reason we are asking the government to ban the use of ‘natural’ labels on food,” says Urvashi Rangan, director of the safety and sustainability center at Consumer Reports.

GMO food labeling requirements are on the ballot this fall in Oregon and Colorado; Consumer Reports is supporting both campaigns.

Pick Your Poison

I’ve learned a few things from living in a poverty stricken, big city located, family home: 

1. You make the most out of what you have.  Just because your entire household income is less than $900.00/ month doesn’t mean you have to live like it.  Ration. Save. Appreciate. Learn. Educate others.

2. You may pick your poison.  Monsanto has made sure there are GMOs in most all conventionally grown crops.  When you get right down to it, if you want to eat well on a VERY modest budget you have to pick your poison.  Any food product in a modest food market will either be boxed and fermented, or fresh and sprayed with pesticides. There isn’t another option than digesting Monsanto’s poisons if you don’t want your family of four to starve. (We do have a garden, though, I admit it’s a little neglected.)

3. Lastly, if you live in America you are a slave.  The education system is shit.  It’s all shit. They are teaching children uniformity and repetition. Then they send em’ off to college on “borrowed” money to get a “fulfilling” job to be paying off student loans for the rest of their lives. 

4. Self-education is the most enlightening.  It is the Age of Information. Look it up.

I’m done ranting.  I need to leave this country as soon as possible.  I can’t live here anymore.  And I don’t feel like we will get this country back.  I really don’t.  The political game is full of assholes who won’t stand if someone threatens their way of life.  North Korea has more of a chance to take over the U.S. than the American people do.  Wake up! Get out while there is still a chance.

Monsanto is suing to stop Vermont from labeling GMO food

When the tiny, rural U.S. state of Vermont passed a law requiring genetically engineered foods to be labeled, Monsanto and their allies sued to block it.

Facing an army of lawyers and a potential multi-million-dollar lawsuit, many people thought Vermont might simply back down.

But Vermont fought back – and with the help of a generous donation from SumOfUs members, Vermont is winning.

A judge just rejected a request to block the law from going into effect while the lawsuit goes forward. This is great news – but also means that the lawsuit will likely go to trial, and Vermont’s legal costs could skyrocket.

So now more than ever, Vermont needs our help in their fight against Monsanto. Will you chip in?

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Vote Yes on Proposition 37! (by Carighttoknow)

61 countries demand to know if their food has GMO ingredients. The United States of America continues to poison its people in the name of progress for corporate interests.

As California Vote Looms, Scientists Say No To Labeling Genetically Modified Foods  

From the article:

Many celebrity chefs, led by Alice Waters from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, have signed a petition supporting Proposition 37. Some 1,200 chefs are now voicing their support for the measure, even though restaurant food is exempt.

The petition says: “It is our duty to nourish our guests, both in body and soul. However, we can’t prepare the best food we know how when information about the ingredients we purchase is hidden from us with labels that are missing basic facts. This includes foods that are genetically engineered or contain genetically modified organisms." 

Guys, would you please sign here?

https://www.change.org/p/fda-say-no-to-gmo-s-label-all-foods-that-contain-gmo-s-in-the-united-states

the girl who’s running the petition is really compassionated about it and i think it’s a really good thing and i mean honestly, it doesn’t cost you anything to just give her petition your voice. it’s a petition AGAINST GMO FOOD and i think there are a lot out there who are against it.

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GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD: 

New U.S. Federally Certified “GMO-Free” Food Label

Good news today for all U.S. consumers who want to make informed choices about what to put into their bodies.  It isn’t perfect–the labels are voluntary and companies have to pay to have their food products certified ‘GMO-Free’–but we may finally be on the road to full public disclosure about genetically modified organisms in the U.S. food supply. (Q: How many Big Food manufacturers will actually participate in this ‘voluntary’ program?)

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Post script from the Director: While I agree with my colleagues ^ who say we should hold open the possibility this move by the federal government may lead to transparency further down the road, what it really looks like is a strategic move by the GMA to avoid stringent regulations by individual states. The banking industry pulled this a couple years ago when state after state began passing laws requiring strict rules and penalties for the banking industry. The banking industry’s solution was to plead their case with the federal government and ask the feds to regulate them, thereby trumping (overriding) any existing or future regulations by the individual states.  It looks like the GMA has used the same playbook and now will have a soft voluntary system in which any benefit to the consumer is just an illusion.

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US develops new government label for GMO-free products

Associated Press

The U.S. Agriculture Department has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.

USDA’s move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of the genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The certification is the first of its kind and would be voluntary “ and companies would have to pay for it. If approved, the foods would be able to carry a "USDA Process Verified” label along with a claim that they are free of GMOs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined the department’s plan in a May 1 letter to employees, saying the certification was being done at the request of a “leading global company,” which he did not identify. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

Right now, there are no government labels that only certify a food as GMO-free. Many companies use a private label developed by a nonprofit called the Non-GMO Project. The USDA organic label also certifies that foods are free of genetically modified ingredients, but many non-GMO foods aren’t organic.

Vilsack said the USDA certification is being created through the department’s Agriculture Marketing Service, which works with interested companies to certify the accuracy of the claims they are making on food packages “ think "humanely raised” or “no antibiotics ever.” Companies pay the Agricultural Marketing Service to verify a claim, and if approved, they can market the foods with the USDA process verified label.

“Recently, a leading global company asked AMS to help verify that the corn and soybeans it uses in its products are not genetically engineered so that the company could label the products as such,” Vilsack wrote in the letter. “AMS worked with the company to develop testing and verification processes to verify the non-GE claim.”

A USDA spokesman confirmed that Vilsack sent the letter but declined to comment on the certification program. Vilsack said in the letter that the certification “will be announced soon, and other companies are already lining up to take advantage of this service.”

Genetically modified foods come from seeds that are originally engineered in laboratories to have certain traits, like resistance to herbicides. The majority of the U.S. corn and soybean crop is now genetically modified, with much of that going to animal feed. GMO corn and soybeans are also made into popular processed food ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and soybean oil.

The government says GMOs on the market now are safe and that mandatory labels aren’t needed. Consumer advocates pushing for mandatory labeling say shoppers still have a right to know what is in their food, arguing that not enough is known about the effects of the technology. They have supported several state efforts to require labeling, with the eventual goal of having a federal standard.

The USDA label is similar to what is proposed in a House bill introduced earlier this year that is designed to block those mandatory GMO labeling efforts around the country. The bill, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican,  provides for USDA certification but would not make it mandatory. The bill also would override any state laws that require the labeling.

The food industry, which backs Pompeo’s bill, has strongly opposed individual state efforts to require labeling, saying labels would be misleading because GMOs are safe.

Vermont became the first state to require the labeling in 2014, and that law will go into effect next year if it survives a legal challenge from the food industry.

A spokesman for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the major food industry trade group that challenged the Vermont law, said, “We are interested in this development and look forward to engaging with the department” on the labels.

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USDA Develops Label to Verify GMO-FREE. Food

New York Times

The Agriculture Department has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.



'GMO Free' Claims May Soon Be Verified By Agriculture Department

‘GMO Free’ Claims May Soon Be Verified By Agriculture Department

WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) – The Agriculture Department has developed the first government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.

USDA’s move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Certification would be voluntary—and companies would have to pay for it. If approved, the foods would be able to…

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