April 16th, 2014 – Just Label It Applauds Vermont’s Commitment to GE Labeling in Historic Senate Vote
April 9th, 2014 – Newly Introduced Food Industry Backed Bill Denys Consumers Right-to-Know
March 12th, 2014 – Just Label It Submits Comment on the Proposed Deregulation of 2,4-D Resistant Corn and Soybean Varieties
February 7th, 2014 – Just Label It Responds to Food Industry’s “Coalition for Safe Affordable Food” and Proposed Voluntary Labeling
January 16th, 2014 – Statement of Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label it, on a letter to President Obama in supporting of GE labeling
January 7th, 2014 – Just Label It Responds to Industry Bill Baring GE Food Labels
January 3rd, 2014 – Just Label It Responds to the USDA’s Draft Environmental Impact Study on 2,4-D Resistant GE Crops
November 15th, 2013 – GE Labeling Remains a Priority on National Level
October 16th, 2013 – WA State Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against GMA
October 1st, 2013 – GMA Dumps $5 Million Into Defeating GE Labeling in Washington State
September 26th, 2013 – Just Label It Applauds Sen. Mikulski’s Leadership In Removing Monsanto Rider From Continuing Resolution
September 11th, 2013 – GE Labeling Would Not Impact Supermarket Prices, New Study Says
June 21st, 2013 – Just Label It Commends Senate Appropriations Committee for Passing GE Salmon Labeling Amendment
June 11th, 2013 – Just Label It Applauds Maine’s Historic Vote on GE Labeling Bill
June 3rd, 2013 – Just Label It Commend’s Connecticut On Passage of First State GE Labeling Bill
May 22nd, 2013 – Just Label It Commend’s Connecticut’s Commitment to GE Labeling in Historic Senate Vote
May 13th, 2013 – Court Ruling on Bowman vs. Monsanto Makes Further Case for Labeling
May 10th, 2013 – Just Label It Applauds USDA’s Decision to Extend Review of 2,4-D Corn
May 10th, 2013 – Just Label It Commends Vermont’s Commitment to GE Labeling in Historic House Vote
April 24th, 2013 – Just Label It Applauds GE Labeling Bill
March 19th, 2013 – Just Label It Commends the Natural Products Association For Supporting a National GE Labeling Standard
March 8th, 2013 – Just Label It Applauds Whole Foods For Its Commitment to GE Labeling
March 6th, 2013 – National Nonprofits to Collaborate On Promoting Organic Food and GE Labeling
December 4th, 2012 – Just Label It Campaign Urges Congress to Dump the Biotech Rider
November 28th, 2012 – Just Label It Calls on Secretary Vilsack to Deny Approval of 2,4-D Resistant Corn
November 14th, 2012 – Stars Join National Fight to Label Genetically Engineered Foods in New Video
November 7th, 2012 – GMO Labeling Issue Is Here to Stay: Prop 37 Proves Americans Want the Right to Know as the Campaign Shifts Focus to the Federal Level
October 19th, 2012 – Bill Maher Show on GMO Labeling Features Just Label It Chair Gary Hirshberg
September 17th, 2012 - Just Label It and Farm Aid Partner to Promote Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered (GE) Food
September 12th, 2012 - Just Label It Endorses “Yes on Prop 37 – California Right to Know
September 10th, 2012 - Just Label It Survey: Parents Overwhelmingly Say Label Genetically Engineered Foods
July 10th, 2012 - “Just Label It” Condemns Dangerous Riders Snuck Into The Farm Bill By Chemical Companies Working To Keep Americans In The Dark About Their Food
June 29th, 2012 - Fireworks May Not Pack the Only July 4th Surprise
June 25th, 2012 - National Coalition “Just Label It” Urges Defeat of Farmers Assurance Bill
May 29th, 2012 - National Just Label It coalition urges FDA to use 21st century science – not the five senses – to drive GMO food policy
May 24th, 2012 - National Just Label It Coalition Calls For New Era of Transparency in Government
May 2nd, 2012 - National JUST LABEL IT Coalition for GMO Labeling Applauds California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative
March 27th, 2012 - Record-breaking One Million Americans Tell FDA: We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food
January 18th, 2012 - Consumer-backed Effort To Label Genetically Engineered Food Releases Video By Food, Inc. Filmmaker Robert Kenner
October 4th, 2011 - Just Label It Launches Consumer Campaign Calling For The Right to Know What Is In Our Food
Just Label It Applauds Vermont’s Commitment to GE Labeling in Historic Senate Vote
Washington, D.C. (April 15, 2014) – State senators in Vermont showed their true commitment to giving consumers more information about their food in an historic vote today that could help to pave the way for many other labeling efforts across the country, Just Label It said in a statement.
The bill, H. 112, would require the labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients sold in Vermont. This move is a strong indication that Vermont could become the first state to enact a law requiring GE labeling.
“We are one giant step closer to giving consumers the right-to-know about GE ingredients in Vermont and across the country,” said Violet Batcha, JLI’s Communications Manager. “If Vermont’s bill passes, food manufacturers will have to tell us more, not less, about the foods we eat. We hope it will inspire even more states to act and mandate labeling.”
The bill passed through the Senate with a vote of 28 to 2. It will now go to conference committee for a final vote. Unlike the GE labeling laws passed in Maine and Connecticut, which require other surrounding states to pass similar legislation, Vermont’s bill has no “trigger” clauses. That means Vermont’s law, if passed, would be able to go into effect July 1, 2016 regardless of what happens in other states.
Close to 30 other states are considering similar labeling bills or ballot initiatives this year. Polls show that 93% of American consumers want the right-to-know what they’re eating, a right held by citizens in 64 countries around the world that already label GE foods.
Food Industry Backed Bill Denys Consumers Right-to-Know
Rep. Pompeo has introduces bill to keep consumers in the dark about GE food
Washington, DC (April 9, 2014) – A new federal bill introduced today by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., would deny consumers the right to know if there are genetically modified ingredients in their food.
The bill, which GE labeling proponents have dubbed the “Deny Americans the Right-To-Know Act,” or the DARK Act, would codify the failed voluntary labeling system that has been in place for the past 13 years. It would also prevent the FDA from ever mandating GE labeling in the future.
“Voluntary labeling of GE foods has not worked,” said Darren Mahaffy, Vice President of Marketing at Nature’s Path Foods. “Companies have been able to disclose the presence of GE ingredients since 2001, and not one company has done so. This leaves consumers more confused than ever. It’s time for FDA to require mandatory GE labeling.”
This legislation would also pre-empt states from taking any legislative efforts to require labeling of GE food. It would also allow foods labeled as “natural” to contain GE ingredients.
“This legislation would not only pre-empt states from taking any steps towards labeling in the future, but nullify the efforts in more than 30 states that are currently working to require GE labeling,” said Violet Batcha, Communications Manager at Just Label It.
“The Pompeo bill will leave consumers even more confused, not less. Allowing genetically engineered ingredients to be included in products label “natural” will undermine consumers’ trust in the growing, vibrant natural products industry,” said Sarah Bird, Chief Marketing Officer at Annie’s, Inc., “this bill sends us backwards in terms of addressing consumer confusion.”
Polls show that 93% of Americans support the labeling of GE foods. And 64 countries including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and the EU already require GE labeling.
“The majority of consumers want the right to know what’s in their food. The DARK Act would take away this right by making it impossible for the FDA or individual states to ever mandate GE Labeling,” said Gary Hirshberg, Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, “This act is a slap in the face of all average citizens who simply want the right to know what we are eating and how it is grown”
Just Label It Submits Comment on the Proposed Deregulation of 2,4-D Resistant Corn and Soybean Varieties
Washington, D.C. (March 12th, 2014) – The following is a statement of Just Label It’s Executive Director, Scott Faber on Dow AgroSciences’ petition to deregulate 2,4-D resistant corn and soybean varieties:
“Just Label It strongly opposes efforts to expand the use of 2,4-D, an herbicide that has been linked to numerous health problems including lymphoma, endocrine disruption and reproductive problems. The proposed deregulation of 2,4-D resistant corn and soybean would expand the agricultural use of this herbicide to more than 170 million pounds per year over the next decade. This deregulation would create significant new risks to human health affecting both consumers and farmers.”
You can view Just Label It’s full comments to the USDA here.
Just Label It Responds to Food Industry’s “Coalition for Safe Affordable Food” and Proposed Voluntary Labeling
Washington, D.C. (February 7th, 2014) – The following is a statement of Just Label It’s Executive Director, Scott Faber on the food industries “Coalition for Safe Affordable Food”:
“Voluntary labeling of genetically engineered ingredients is a failed system and the food industry’s proposal is just more of the same. The solution to consumer confusion is to provide people with more information, not less. We welcome the opportunity to work with industry leaders to craft a federal solution that gives all consumers the right to know what’s in their food.”
Statement of Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label it, on a letter to President Obama in supporting of GE labeling
Washington, D.C. (January 16th, 2014) – “Today, more than 200 companies and organizations are releasing a letter to President Obama urging the President to honor his pledge to require GE labeling. In 2007, during a campaign stop in Iowa, President Obama pledged to give Americans the right to know whether they are eating genetically engineered food.
If elected, he said he would “let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying.”
Since he was elected, the President has made it a top priority for his administration to ensure that our food is safe, accessible, nutritious and affordable.
For example, the Obama Administration led efforts to pass the most sweeping food safety legislation since the New Deal. This Administration has worked with business leaders to reduce the number of food deserts and to dramatically reduce the amount of sugar, fat and salt in packaged foods. President Obama and his team have found to make sure than hungry Americans get enough to eat, especially our children, and to help pass new laws that ensure junk food will not be sold in our schools. Most recently, his Administration largely ended the use of trans fat.
But that’s not all. No White House has done as much to help Americans make more informed choices about our food. You made sure that restaurants would be required to give us information about calories, and you worked with the food industry to put more nutrition information on the front of their boxes and bottles.
Giving consumers the right to know whether our food contains genetically engineered ingredients in our food will not only honor the pledge you made to us in 2007. Giving consumers the same rights as consumers in 64 other countries would be consistent with the values that have inspired this administration for five years.”
Just Label It Responds to Industry Food Bill Baring GE Food Labels
Washington, D.C. (January 7th, 2014) - The following is a statement of Just Label It Executive Director Scott Faber on legislation drafted by the food industry to bar states from requiring GE labels on food and to limit FDA’s ability to compel food compel GE labels:
“This ‘Hail Mary’ pass comes too late to deny consumers the right to know what’s in their food. Two states have already given consumers the same rights as consumers in 64 other countries around world, and 20 more states are poised to pass GE labeling legislation in 2014. Now is the time for food companies to work with JLI and others to craft a national mandatory labeling system, not make desperate moves to block states from protecting their consumers from misleading “natural” claims or to tie FDA’s hands in red tape.”
Just Label It Responds to USDA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement on 2,4-D Resistant GE Crops
Washington, D.C. (January 3, 2014 ) – Statement of Just Label It’s Executive Director, Scott Faber on USDA’s draft Environmental Impact Statement of Dow AgroScience’s 2,4-D resistant genetically engineered corn and soybeans:
“Relying on dangerous weed killers like 2,4-D to combat the growth of super weeds will just keep us on the same chemical treadmill. No wonder consumers want the right to know whether their food is from the GE crops that have caused the explosion of super weeds. As today’s USDA study shows, super weeds have now spread to 27 states.”
GE Labeling Remains a Priority on a National Level
Just Label It Continues to Fight for the Consumers Right to Know
Washington, D.C. (November 15th, 2013) – In response to the outcome of Washington state’s I-522 ballot initative, Just Label It’s executive director, Scott Faber, issued the following statement:
“The results in Washington state do not change the fundamental fact that consumers deserve the right to know about the presence of GE ingredients in their food. Just Label It will continue to fight to give American consumers the same rights as consumers in 64 other nations via a federal solution requiring mandatory labeling, while at the same time continuing to work with state legislators to give this basic right to consumers. We welcome the opportunity to work with food industry leaders and the FDA to devise a federal mandatory labeling system that alerts consumers to the presence of GE ingredients in their food. And, we are pleased that companies such as Mars, Smithfield and Unilever sided with consumers by refusing to contribute to the food industry’s $22 million efforts to deny consumers basic facts about their food.”
Washington State Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Grocery Manufacturers Association
Just Label It Continues to Demand Transparency From GMA Members
Washington, D.C. (October 16th, 2013) – Today, Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed suit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), big food’s national lobby group representing brands like General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft and Pepsico, for violating the state’s campaign disclosure laws. Ferguson alleges that GMA, the largest contributor to the ‘No on 522′ campaign, illegally collected and spent a sum of $7.2 million to defeat Washington’s GE labeling initiative, while hiding the identity of its contributors.
“It’s time these companies listen to consumers, and support full transparency when it comes to genetically engineered ingredients,” said Scott Faber, executive director of Just Label It. “Consumers deserve the right to know what they’re eating and feeding their families.”
Just Label It launched a petition in August 2013 targeting many of the GMA’s members, demanding that Monsanto, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Pepsico and 60 other major food and chemical companies stop trying to keep Americans in the dark about which products contain genetically engineered ingredients. The petition has collected more than 100,000 signatures to date.
Polls show that more than 90% of American consumers want to know about the food they’re eating, a right held by citizens in 64 countries around the world that already require mandatory labeling of GE foods.
Grocery Manufacturers Association Dumps $5 Million into Defeating GE Labeling in Washington State
Washington, D.C. (October 1st, 2013) – Today, the Just Label It campaign called out the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a national big food lobby group representing companies like Kraft, Pepsico and Kellogg’s, for donating another $5 million to defeat an initiative to label genetically engineered foods in Washington state. To date, GMA has donated a sum of $7.2 million, making them the largest contributor to the ‘No on 522′ campaign.
Along with fighting transparency in our food, the GMA is now under fire for fighting full transparency behind the sources of their monetary donations. A Washington non-profit group called “Moms for Labeling” filed a lawsuit against the GMA earlier this month, accusing the association of laundering donations from its members, acting as a political committee and concealing the identities of the campaign’s donors.
“It’s time these companies realize that the fight is worse than the label,” said Scott Faber, executive director of Just Label It. “Consumers deserve the right to know what they’re eating and feeding their families.”
A petition targeting many of the GMA’s members, launched in August, demands that Monsanto, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Pepsico and 60 other major food and chemical companies stop trying to keep Americans in the dark about which products contain genetically engineered ingredients. The petition has collected more than 100,000 signatures to date.
Polls show that more than 90% of American consumers want to know about the food they’re eating, a right held by citizens in 64 countries around the world that already require mandatory labeling of GE foods.
Monsanto Protection Act Not Included in Senate Amendment to House Continuing Resolution
Just Label It commends Senator Mikulski for her leadership in removing the provision
Washington, D.C. (September 26th, 2013) - Just Label It applauds U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for her leadership in preventing a provision deemed the “Monsanto rider” from being included in a Senate amendment to the House Continuing Resolution. The provision would negate any meaningful judicial review of the USDA’s decisions to allow planting of genetically engineered crops. Senator Mikulski issued a statement today on the Monsanto provision:
“My promises made are promises kept. I have never supported the Monsanto provision, and I continue to oppose it. When I became Appropriations Chairwoman and inherited this problem, I promised I would work to solve it. The Monsanto provision is not included in either of the Senate or House FY14 Agriculture Appropriations bills, and that is a good thing. There’s no reason for it to be included in a short-term CR, either.
Senator Mikulski has been an active proponent for the consumer right to know. She has supported a bill supporting labeling of genetically engineered fish, a Farm Bill amendment to require labeling for GE ingredients, and also co-sponsored a federal GE labeling bill introduced this spring by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
Polls show that more than 90% of American consumers want to know about the food they’re eating, a right held by citizens in 64 countries around the world that already require mandatory labeling of GE foods.
GE Labeling Would Not Impact Supermarket Prices, New Study Says
Washington, D.C. (September 11th, 2013) - Requiring food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients will not increase food prices at the supermarket, according to an independent study released today by the national Just Label It campaign.
The study, conducted by food marketing expert Kai Robertson, found no evidence connecting changes in food labels to supermarket prices. Robertson is an independent consultant who previously worked for the Food Marketing Institute and most recently ran BSR’s food, beverage and agriculture advisory practice.
Robertson identified the key factors that influence retail prices, including consumer demographics and rival pricing behavior, along with market, chain and store characteristics. Wholesale prices have less of an effect on retail prices than these demand-related forces, and there is no evidence that label changes affect wholesale prices.
“Food processors regularly make changes to the labels of their products – as part of ongoing product innovation to anticipate and meet changing consumer demands and for other marketing and regulatory reasons,” Robertson wrote. “There are no studies that document the impact of changes to a product’s label on prices charged by supermarkets.”
In sum, this study supports Just Label It’s conclusion that proposals to change labels of GE food will not affect retail prices paid by shoppers.
“Food manufacturers are constantly refreshing their labels to highlight new innovations, so simply adding the words “may contain genetically engineered ingredients” to the back of the package will not add to the cost of making food,” said Scott Faber, Executive Director for Just Label It and formerly Vice President of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Just Label It commissioned the independent study as more than 25 states consider legislation to label GE foods. Two states, Connecticut and Maine, have already approved GE labeling laws, and Washington voters will consider a GE labeling ballot initiative in November. Polls show that more than 90% of American consumers want to know whether their food contains GE ingredients, and 64 nations have already required GE labeling.
Just Label It Commends Senate Appropriations Committee for Passing GE Salmon Labeling Amendment
Washington, D.C. (June 21st, 2013) – Just Label It applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for yesterday’s passing of an amendment to label genetically engineered salmon, which was offered by Senator Murkowski (R-AK) and added to a spending bill language. The amendment passed through the Committee by a narrow margin of 15 to 14, and would provide at least $150,000 for labeling.
“American’s deserve the right to know more, not less, about the food they eat and feed their families,” said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label It. Aquabounty’s “AquAdvantage” GE salmon is the first genetically engineered animal intended for human consumption, and produces growth hormones year-round to make the fish grow at twice its natural rate. More than 50,000 Just Label It supporters added comments to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s open comment period this spring asking for proper review and labels for GE salmon.
Despite this new techonology, there have been no long-term studies on the safety of eating GE salmon, nor has the environmental or economic impact of this salmon been adequately evaluated. Polls show that more than 90% of American consumers want to know about the food they’re eating, a right held by citizens in 64 countries around the world that already require mandatory labeling of GE foods.
Just Label It Applauds Maine’s Historic Vote on GE Labeling Bill
Washington, D.C. (June 11th, 2013) – Just Label It applauded Maine’s House of Reprentatives for today’s historic vote passing LD-718, which would require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food and seed stock sold in Maine. The bill passed through the House by an overwhelming margin of 141 to 4, and now moves on to the Senate.
“Maine’s momentous vote rides on the wave of the growing movement for GE labeling in New England and across the country, and symbolizes the common sentiment by consumers everywhere for greater transparency in our food,” said Katrina Staves, Campaign Manager for Just Label It.
More than 20 other states are considering similar legislation this year, including Washington and Vermont. Last week, Connecticut became the first state to pass a GE labeling bill, which will go into effect when four states, including one neighboring one, pass similar legislation. A federal GE labeling bill was also introduced this spring by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
Polls show that more than 90% of American consumers want to know about the food they’re eating, a right held by citizens in 64 countries around the world that already require mandatory labeling of GE foods.
Just Label It Commends Connecticut On Passage of First State GE Labeling Bill
Washington, D.C. (June 4th, 2013) – Just Label It applauded Connecticut’s Senate and House for yesterday’s historic vote passing HB-6519, which would require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food sold in Connecticut. The amended bill, after passing through the Senate this weekend, passed through the House by an overwhelming margin of 134 to 3, and makes Connecticut the first U.S. state to pass a law for GE labeling.
“Connecticut’s victory marks an important step in the national movement for GE labeling, and signifies growing support for the consumer right-to-know,” said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label It.
More than 20 other states are considering similar legislation this year, including Washington, Vermont and Maine. A federal GE labeling bill was recently introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
Polls show that more than 90% of American consumers want to know about the food they’re eating, a right held by citizens in 64 countries around the world that already require mandatory labeling of GE foods.
Just Label It Commends Connecticut’s Commitment to GE Labeling in Historic Senate Vote
Washington, D.C. (May 22nd, 2013) - Just Label It applauded Connecticut’s State Senate for yesterday’s historic vote passing HB-6519, which would require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food sold in Connecticut. The voted passed by an overwhelming margin of 35 to 1, and now moves on to the House of Representatives.
If the House passes the bill, Connecticut will be the first in the nation to mandate labeling of GE food. Vermont’s House of Representatives recently passed a similar bill, which will be voted on by Vermont’s Senate in January of next year. Currently, 24 other states are considering similar legislation this year.
“The news from Connecticut is a great example of the growing momentum in the fight for GE labeling and the consumer right-to-know,” said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label It.
A federal GE labeling bill was recently introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR). Polls show that more than 90% of American consumers want to know about the food they’re eating, a right held by citizens in 64 countries around the world that already require mandatory labeling of GE foods.
Court Ruling on Bowman vs. Monsanto Makes Further Case for GE Labeling
Washington, D.C. (May 13th, 2013) – Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto in the Bowman vs. Monsanto case, marking a disappointing loss for farmers and serving as a reminder of the need for GE labeling.
The case, which was argued in front of the Supreme Court in February of this year, debated patent infringement on Monsanto’s genetically engineered soybean crop.
“Today’s ruling should serve as a reminder that Americans still don’t know whether they’re feeding their families food made with GE ingredients – unlike consumers in 64 other natons,” said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label It. “Americans deserve the right to know what we’re eating and feeding our families.”
The Supreme Court ruling came after a decision by the USDA last week to extend the review of “Enlist”, a herbicide-resistant corn produced by both Monsanto and Dow, after increased concern from consumers and environmental groups.
Just Label It Applauds USDA’s Decision to Extend Review of 2,4-D Corn
Washington, D.C. (May 10th, 2013) – Just Label It applauded the USDA’s recent decision to extend its review of the proposed “Enlist” corn, a genetically engineered crop developed by biotech companies Dow and Monsanto. Last summer, more than 35,000 Just Label It supporters wrote letters to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, urging the USDA to reject approval of the “Enlist” crop, citing potential environmental and health dangers.
The proposed herbicide-resistant crop would combine weed-killers glyphosate and 2,4-D, a controversial ingredient used in Vietnam War defoliant, Agent Orange. Numerous studies have linked 2,4-D exposure to major health problems such as cancer, liver dysfunction, Parkinson’s disease, and other human health concerns.
“The USDA’s decision to conduct further review of 2,4-D corn is extremely important step in the regulatory process, brought about by strong consumer concern,” said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label It. “The truth is, we just don’t yet know the full impact of these crops on both the environment and our health. Until we do, these crops should not enter the marketplace.”
The USDA’s decision comes on the same day that Vermont’s House of Representatives voted through H.112, a bill requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods in the state of Vermont. More than 30 other states are considering similar legislation this year.
Just Label It Commends Vermont’s Commitment to GE Labeling in Historic House Vote
Washington, D.C. (May 10th, 2013) – Just Label It applauded the Vermont House of Representatives for today’s historic vote passing H-112, which would require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food sold in Vermont. The voted passed by an overwhelming margin of 99 to 42, and now moves to the Vermont Senate, which will pick it up when the legislature returns in January 2014.
If the Senate passes the bill, Vermont will be the first in the nation to mandate labeling of GE food. Alaska’s House of Representatives passed legislation earlier this year requiring labeling of GE fish.
“Vermont continues to be a leader in the fight for GE labeling and the consumer right-to-know,” said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label It. “We urge more state leaders to recognize the strong support of this issue nationwide.”
A federal GE labeling bill was recently introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
Just Label It Applauds GE Labeling Bill
Washington, D.C (April 24th, 2013) – The national Just Label It coalition today applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation to require food manufacturers to inform consumers when packaged food contains genetically engineered ingredients.
The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act was introduced today by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
“Americans want to know more, not less, about their food,” said Katey Parker of Just Label It, which has more than 650 partner organizations. “More than 90 percent of Americans want the same rights as consumers in 64 countries around the world. It’s time to trust American consumers with information about genetically engineered ingredients so they can make the best choices for themselves and their families.”
Through the Just Label It campaign, more than 1 million Americans have petitioned FDA to require labeling on packaged food containing GE ingredients.
Just Label It Commends the Natural Products Association For Its Commitment to a National Standard for GE Labeling
Washington, D.C (March 19th, 2013) – The national Just Label It coalition commends the Natural Products Association for supporting a national solution for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food.
“More and more representatives from the food industry, such as the Natural Products Association, are recognizing the importance of labeling GE foods” said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Organic Voices and VP of Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group. “Every American should have the right to know what is in their food, a right that consumers in 62 other countries already have. We encourage more industry voices to come to the table and support the 90 percent of Americans who want the right to know whether the food they’re eating and feeding their families contains GE ingredients.”
Earlier this month, national retailer Whole Foods Market announced their commitment to consumer transparency by promising labels on all genetically engineered foods in their stores by 2018. They are the first national grocery store chain to require labeling.
Just Label It Applauds Whole Foods For Its Commitment to GE Labeling
Washington, D.C. (March 8th, 2013) – The national Just Label It coalition commends food retailer Whole Foods Market for its announcement to label all genetically engineered food sold in its store by 2018.
“Whole Foods is doing the right thing for consumers by giving them more information about what is in their food,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm and board chair of Organic Voices. “We urge other business leaders to work with us to give every American the same right as consumers in 62 other countries. More than 90 percent of Americans want the right to know whether their food contains GE ingredients so that they can make the best choices for their families.”
The Just Label It campaign is a national coalition spearheading the effort to persuade the federal Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of GE foods. The campaign is managed by Organic Voices, which has worked to educate consumers about the benefits of eating organic food.
Earlier this week, Organic Voices announced a new collaboration with the national nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group to bolster advocacy efforts around labeling in Washington.
National Nonprofits to Collaborate on Promoting Organic Food and GE Labeling
Washington, D.C. (March 6th, 2013) – Environmental Working Group and Organic Voices will collaborate to highlight the benefits of organic food and advance the fight for labeling food that contains genetically engineered ingredients, the two organizations announced today.
“This new collaboration will carry out our shared goals and build on the strengths of both organizations,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm and board chair of Organic Voices. “By working together, we believe that EWG and Organic Voices can educate and empower consumers about the benefits of organic food and GE labeling and bolster our advocacy efforts in Washington.”
EWG has a 20-year history of providing consumers with valuable information and research about environmental and public health and has long supported organic food and agriculture. It has advocated for sensible policies that increase transparency in the food and farm system, including the creation of national organic standards.
EWG also publishes its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which ranks fruits and vegetables based on their total pesticide loads. EWG issued a landmark report in 1993 that addressed pesticide residues in baby food and resulted in significant shifts in the market and adoption of source testing by many companies.
Since 2011 Organic Voices has managed the Just Label It campaign, a national coalition spearheading the effort to persuade the federal Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of GE foods. In addition, the organization has worked to educate consumers about the benefits of eating organic food.
“Organic has significant benefits to our environment,” said Scott Faber, vice president for government affairs at EWG. Faber will also serve as Organic Voices’ executive director. “We want to see this sector grow and also help consumers understand that only organic guarantees that food has been produced without synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or GE ingredients,” said Faber.
Since Organic Voices launched the Just Label It campaign a year ago, more than 1.2 million Americans have signed its petition urging the FDA to label food containing GE ingredients, and more than 600 partner organizations have joined the campaign to push for labeling. A recent poll found that 93 percent of Americans support labeling and that support for labeling cuts across all demographic lines.
“This is a pivotal time for GE labeling,” said Ken Cook, president of EWG and a board member of Organic Voices. “More than 20 states will debate GE labeling legislation this year, and many food industry leaders recognize that it is time for the United States to join 62 other nations that already require GE labeling on packaged foods.”
Cook added, “Roughly 3 billion people – including consumers in Saudi Arabia, China and even Syria – have the right to know whether their food contains GE ingredients. American consumers should have the right to know as well.”
Just Label It Campaign Urges Congress to Dump the Biotech Rider
Dangerous Stealth Measure is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2012) – A national campaign to defeat the biotech rider snuck into the Agriculture Appropriations Bill now before Congress has been launched by Just Label It, the national coalition spearheading federal labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food.
“The same chemical companies who just spent $46 million to defeat GE foods labeling in California are now focused on bullying Congress into doing their bidding,” said David Bancroft, Executive Director, Just Label It. “But the seemingly ‘farmer friendly’ rider they slipped into the Agriculture Appropriations Bill is nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing and must be eliminated.”
The omnibus 2013 Appropriations Bill contains a biotech rider (section 733) that allows the planting of GE crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally. It forces the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to grant temporary permits and deregulations of GE crops even if a Federal court rules that USDA hadn’t adequately considered the environmental or economic risks to farmers. This negates any meaningful judicial review of USDA’s decisions to allow commercialization of GE crops.
If a GE crop approval was shown to violate the law and require further analysis of its harmful impacts (as several courts have concluded in recent years, e.g., GE alfalfa and GE sugar beets) this provision would override any court-mandated caution and allow continued planting and commercialization while further review takes place.
Further, it forces USDA to approve permits for such continued planting immediately, putting industry completely in charge by creating loophole approvals tailored to counter any “inconvenient” court decisions for the industry.
“The chemical companies may call this rider the ‘farmer’s assurance provision’, but the only assurance it offers is increased profits to chemical companies like Monsanto, not protection for America’s farmers or food consumers,” warned Bancroft.
As only a short period of time remains for Congress to resolve the Appropriations Bill before the end of the lame duck session, Just Label It is urging Americans to contact their representatives in the House to support the “Dear Colleague” letter opposing the biotech rider from Representative Peter DeFazio (D- Oregon, 4th ) and urge Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) to defeat the rider.
By going to the Just Label It website (www.justlabelit.org), people can instantly send an e-mail to their representatives in Washington urging them to defeat the biotech rider. They also can sign the petition urging the Federal Department of Agriculture to approve federal GE food labeling, which has more than 1.2 million signatures.
Just Label It Calls on Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Deny Approval of 2,4-D Resistant Corn
Washington, D.C. (Nov. 28, 2012) – Citing the human and environmental health risks of 2,4-D, an ingredient in the notorious Vietnam era defoliant “Agent Orange,” the national Just Label It (JLI) coalition called on Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack to deny approval of genetically engineered (GE) 2,4-D resistant corn.
“Corn may be as American as apple pie, but if it’s genetically engineered it may jeopardize both human and environmental health. It needs to be labeled,” said David Bancroft, JLI Executive Director. “We urge Secretary Vilsack to work to to ensure that GE crops are thoroughly researched and safe before they go on the market. It’s in the best interest of all Americans, including our farmers. It’s the right thing to do.”
In a letter to Secretary Vilsack, Bancroft noted that 2,4-D poses health threats to consumers, and its use will only proliferate if 2,4-D resistant corn is approved. Studies have linked the herbicide to reproductive abnormalities, birth defects, liver dysfunction and Parkinson’s disease and several forms of cancer. Approval of 2,4-D corn could lead to an additional 50% increase in herbicide use per acre, studies show, just as the approval of previous herbicide resistant crops have increased the use of the herbicides exponentially.
Rushing to approve 2,4-D without proper testing is similar to the path taken to bring Round Up ready corn to market. Now ten years later, French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini found that Round Up Ready corn produced tumors and multiple organ damage in laboratory rats. Criticism of his study raised issues concerning the original industry-generated studies used to gain GE food approvals, e.g., access to the GE seeds needed for this research has been restricted by the GE seeds’ patent holders. Dr. Seralini had to smuggle seeds out of Canada to France in order to conduct his research.
“Sufficient testing on the long-term effects of GE foods has never been conducted. The notion that USDA will approve 2,4-D resistant corn without proper testing is irresponsible and a disservice to American consumers,” warned Bancroft. He noted that Americans deserve the same right to know about their food as citizens in more than 50 nations worldwide, including the European Union, India and China, where GE foods are already labeled.
JLI spearheaded the drive to get 1.2 million signatures on a F.D.A. petition for mandatory federal GE foods labeling. For further information, sign the petition, or view JLI’s new celebrity video, go to www.justlabelit.org, or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.
Stars Join National Fight to Label Genetically Engineered Foods in New Video
Michael J. Fox, Modern Family’s Julie Bowen and Ziggy Marley Ask Americans to Support
Just Label It Coalition’s Call for Right to Know
Washington, D.C. (November 14, 2012) – Emmy Award winners Michael J. Fox and Julie Bowen, and singer Ziggy Marley are featured in a new Just Label It video calling for the FDA to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Fox, Bowen and Marley are joined in the video by 24 other entertainers and advocates and Just Label It (JLI) Chairman, Gary Hirshberg.
The new video sums up the argument JLI has been making throughout the country: every American deserves the right to know about their food and whether they are eating or serving their families food that has been genetically engineered. JLI is petitioning the FDA to update its 20-year-old voluntary guidelines and require labeling for GE foods. Today, more than 1.2 million Americans have joined the petition, and a national poll has shown that nine out of every 10 Americans support GE food labeling.
“These artists have joined this fight because we are pursuing a basic right, and a right enjoyed by citizens of 60 other countries, including China, Russia and every nation in the European Union,” Hirshberg said. “This video will help us remind the FDA that Washington is supposed to be of, by and for the people — not just a handful of chemical companies.”
As the FDA considers whether to grant approval to GE salmon, 2, 4-D corn and a never-browning apple, the video raises concerns about the transparency surrounding GE foods and the lack of long-term testing on the health and environmental effects of the food. After chemical companies claimed the insecticide used in the first GE corn approved for human consumption would not be digestible, a study later revealed the insecticide was detected in the umbilical cords of pregnant women.
Bowen, a mother of three sons, shows her support for labeling by revealing a sign in the video with the message: “Every modern family has the right to know what’s in their food!”
Marley appears in the video and his song Personal Revolution provides the soundtrack for the three-minute production.
JLI will be using the video in the coming weeks to encourage supporters to sign its petition at www.justlabelit.org. The site also asks supporters to encourage their members of Congress to support labeling GE foods, oppose any federal or state efforts to restrict the push to label GE foods, and to defeat language in the Farm Bill that would limit the USDA or other federal agencies in regulating GE crops.
The full list of entertainers appearing in the video follows:
Tracy Austin, Tennis Player
Kristin Bauer van Straten, Actor
Julie Bowen, Actor
Josh Bowman, Actor
Jordana Brewster, Actor
Mehcad Brooks, Actor
Chevy Chase, Actor
Caley Chase, Actor
Tom Colicchio, Chef
Frances Fisher, Actor
Michael J. Fox, Actor
Daryl Hannah, Actor
Anne Heche, Actor
Jack Johnson, Singer
Dr. Harvey Karp, Pediatrician
Ali Carter, Actor
Gabriel Mann, Actor
Ziggy Marley, Singer
Carter Oosterhouse, TV Host
Eric Ripert, Chef
Leah Segedie, Blogger
Amy Smart, Actor
Ian Somerhalder, Actor
James Taylor, Singer
Wilmer Valderrama, Actor
Emily Van Camp, Actor
Kimberly Van Der Beek, Healthy Living Advocate
Nick Wechsler, Actor
GMO Labeling Issue Is Here to Stay
Prop 37 Proves Americans Want the Right to Know as Campaign Shifts Focus to the Federal Level
Washington, D.C. (Nov. 7, 2012) – After being outspent ten-to-one by chemical and food company giants working to keep American citizens in the dark about their food, the California Right to Know-Yes on Proposition 37 campaign for GMO labeling was defeated at the ballot box, but defiantly set the stage for bringing the fight for our right to know, a core American value, to the federal level.
“California’s Proposition 37 is a win for all Americans who believe in our democratic right to have the information we need to make an informed decision about the food we eat and feed our families,” said Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, Just Label It. “Prop 37 placed the issue of GE food labeling front and center, and took critical steps forward in heightening the discussion, and raising the profile, to make labeling and transparency around our food a reality for the nation. Thanks to the efforts of the millions of people who supported this initiative, the issue of GE food labeling is here to stay.”
A supporter of Prop 37, Just Label It is a national coalition of 600 diverse organizations that spearheaded the FDA petition drive for GE foods labeling — an effort that generated an unprecedented 1.2 million signatures. In light of Prop 37’s defeat, Just Label It will continue to ensure this issue gets the national attention it needs. Americans deserve the same rights as citizens in the European Union, Japan, Russia, China and more than 50 other countries worldwide where GE foods are already labeled.
“Federal GE foods labeling must now be the focus,” said David Bancroft, Campaign Director, Just Label It. “The same powerful interests that funded the campaign against Prop 37 have already had their lobbyists insert language in House versions of the Farm Bill, which, if passed, would strip federal agencies of their authority to regulate GE crops. Having seen the support Prop 37 received, they may also insert other provisions into bills that need to be passed during the lame duck session of Congress. They want to limit any state or federal action that would give Americans the right to know about GE foods.”
Just Label It is urging supporters to visit the Just Label It website (www.justlabelit.org) to take three steps to help win GE foods labeling for all Americans: sign the FDA petition calling for mandatory federal GE foods labeling; tell your friends and family about the petition; and contact your elected officials in Washington, D.C. to urge them to support GE foods labeling.
Bill Maher Show on GMO Labeling Features Just Label It Chair Gary Hirshberg
Washington, D.C. (October 19, 2012) – Receiving increasing media attention for the second time this week, the topic of GMO labeling will be the center of national discussion when Bill Maher interviews Just Label It Chair Gary Hirshberg on Friday, October 19th (“Real Time with Bill Maher”, HBO, 10 pm EST).
“Americans have been kept in the dark for more than 15 years as genetically engineered foods were slipped into our food system without our knowledge or consent,” said Hirshberg. “Americans want what citizens in 50 other countries around the world already have – the fundamental right to know about the food we eat and feed our families.”
Just Label It’s efforts to bring the issue of genetically engineered (GE) food labeling to national attention have included its petition drive in support of the FDA GMO labeling that generated a record-breaking 1.2 million comments in support of labeling. Just Label It has also endorsed and actively supported California’s historic statewide ballot initiative on GMO labeling (Prop 37).
“Prop 37’s work on the state level, and Just Label It’s work on the federal level are complementary efforts that can be the one-two punch our nation needs to finally break down the barriers facing food transparency in America,” said Hirshberg.
He noted that GE foods labeling must ultimately become national policy. The FDA is charged with regulating GE foods, so the focus of JLI’s national coalition is on mandatory federal labeling of GE foods. The state-by state approach to labeling will help advance the cause, but it is not enough. State efforts are a step on the path toward finding a solution that ultimately will have to be made on the national level.
Just Label It and Farm Aid Partner to Promote Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered (GE) Food
GE Labeling is Key Action Focus of Farm Aid Concert in Hershey, PA Sept. 22
Washington, D.C. (Sept. 17, 2012) – Just Label It is partnering with Farm Aid to promote mandatory federal labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food as one of the key actions at Farm Aid’s annual benefit concert in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Sat., Sept. 22.
“Labeling GE foods is about the rights of both the farmers who grow our crops and all the American families who sit at the dinner table,” said David Bancroft, director, Just Label It. “Farmers should have the right to purchase, plant and save non-GE seeds, and to grow their crops without fear of GE contamination. We are proud to be working with Farm Aid to fight this lack of regulation of GE crops keeping us all in the dark.”
In the HOMEGROWN Village area of Farm Aid 2012, a music and food festival celebrating family farmers, concertgoers will be able to sign Just Label It’s petition urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to mandate labeling of GE foods. Already, more than 1.2 million Americans have signed the petition, the largest number on a food petition in FDA history. Momentum on the issue is gaining nationwide, with more and more Americans telling Washington that they want to know about our food.
“Farm Aid wants eaters to know everything about their food–where it comes from, who grows it and what is in it. Just Label It is an important step towards transparency in our food system that benefits eaters and farmers alike,” said Carolyn Mugar, Executive Director, Farm Aid.
For information about the Farm Aid concert’s GE foods labeling action, visit the “Take Action” page on the Farm Aid website www.farmaid.org, or the Just Label It website at www.justlabel.it.org.
About Farm Aid
Each year, Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews headline a Farm Aid concert to bring together a wide variety of musicians, farmers and fans for one mission: keeping family farmers on their land. Farm Aid is the longest running benefit concert series in America, raising more than $40 million to help family farmers thrive all over the country while inspiring millions of people to learn about the Good Food Movement.
Just Label It Endorses “Yes on Prop 37- California Right to Know”
Washington, D.C. – (September 12, 2012) – Just Label It, (JLI) the national coalition for mandatory federal labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, today announced its formal endorsement of “Yes on Prop 37- California Right to Know”, the ballot initiative that will give California voters the chance to vote for mandatory labeling of GE foods this fall.
“Just Label It stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of California who are working for genetically engineered food labeling,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman, Just Label It. “Every American deserves the right to know what is in the food we eat and feed our families. All of us should show our support by joining ‘Yes on Prop 37- California Right to Know.’”
Hirshberg noted that JLI supports Prop 37 because it is working to expand the right to know for a key segment of the U.S. population, increases the dialogue on this vitally important food issue, and is an important step toward what must ultimately be a national policy.
Explained David Bancroft, director, Just Label It, “ Just Label It and ‘Yes on Prop 37 – California Right to Know’ are complementary efforts working to break down the barriers facing GE foods labeling at the state and federal levels. JLI, whose efforts are focused on the federal level, supports GE foods labeling efforts in the states because they are a step on the path towards finding a solution that ultimately will have to be made on the national level.”
“We are honored by the support of Just Label It for our campaign to win labeling of genetically engineered food in California,” said Gary Ruskin, campaign manager of California Right to Know – Yes on Proposition 37. “We are thrilled that our movement is getting stronger every day. This November, Californians will win the right to know what’s in our food.”
For further information about GE foods labeling visit “Yes on Prop 37- California Right to Know” at www.carighttoknow.org, and Just Label It www.justlabelit.org.
Just Label It Survey:
Parents Overwhelmingly Say Label Genetically Engineered Foods
Washington, D.C. (September 10, 2012) – A vast majority of American parents want the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling for foods that have been genetically engineered or contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, according to newly released results from a national poll conducted by the Just Label It (JLI) coalition.
“Instinctively, parents want to make informed choices about what they eat and what they serve their children,” said Gary Hirshberg, JLI Chairman and Chairman and Co-Founder of Stonyfield. “But when it comes to genetically engineered foods, parents are left in the dark because the common-sense tool that could help them choose – food labeling – isn’t available to them.”
Ninety percent of mothers and 88 percent of fathers are in favor of labeling GE foods, according to the survey conducted by the Mellman Group. Additionally, knowing whether the food they purchase and serve their families contains GE ingredients is important to 85 percent of mothers and 80 percent of fathers.
With this strong sentiment, JLI is making a new push to recruit parents to sign a petition asking the FDA to mandate food labeling for GE foods. As families face a new school year, parents are concerned about how the food their children eat will affect their success in the classroom. The petition asks parents to join the one million other Americans who have already expressed their support for labeling so that they will be able to know about the food they feed their children.
“As parents, we TRY to pay close attention to what our children eat. Allergies can pose a serious threat and parents deserve not some, but all of the information they need to keep their children and families safe,” said Robyn O’Brien, founder of AllergyKids Foundation and a JLI member.
Hirshberg said parents’ concerns about their children’s food have intensified following controversies involving pink slime, corn resistant to the toxic 2,4-D herbicide, and apples genetically engineered to prevent browning and that they are calling on the U.S. to join the 40 other developed nations that require labeling of GE foods. Those nations include European Union members, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Brazil and China.
“Just Label It” Condemns Dangerous Riders Snuck into the Farm Bill by Chemical Companies Working to Keep Americans in the Dark About Their Food
Federal Agencies Must Protect America’s Food Supply and Ensure Every Citizen’s Right to Know About the Food We Eat and Feed Our Families
Washington, D.C. (July 10, 2012) — Riders inserted into the House version of the Farm Bill on behalf of the chemical companies that make GE crops pose a significant threat to the nation’s system of food safety evaluation. The move counters recent progress made by Just Label It, the national coalition for genetically engineered (GE) food labeling, and other GE food labeling supporters, including the unprecedented announcement that USDA and EPA would jointly evaluate 2,4-D corn and other GE crops, resulting in a wider view of the overall impacts.
“Americans want our federal agencies to do a thorough job of evaluating GE crops and GE foods, before they are introduced into the marketplace, into our stores, and into our homes,” said Gary Hirshberg, Chairman and a founding Partner of JLI, and Chairman and Co-Founder of Stonyfield. “Rushing the approval of GE crops before they can be fully evaluated endangers our families.”
The riders attached to the House Farm Bill included provisions that would outlaw any review of GE crops’ impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or any other environmental law, or by any other agency other than USDA. For example, harm to protected species could occur without any input from our expert wildlife agencies.
The new provisions would also prohibit other agencies from offering expert input in the review process, and instead limit review to solely USDA under the Plant Protection Act (PPA). In effect, this would likely eliminate any meaningful review. In addition, the riders would force the backdoor approval of GE crops, even if USDA has not reviewed and approved them. Unreasonably short deadlines, if not met by the agency, would default to immediate approval and commercialization.
Further results include the development of a dangerous national policy allowing transgenic contamination in crops and foods, risking loss of GE-sensitive domestic and export markets, and loss of biodiversity. The riders would also limit EPA’s oversight of biotech crops engineered to produce or contain a pesticide by forcing the agency to choose the least burdensome choice for industry, regardless of environmental consequences.
“The U.S. has safeguards in place at numerous federal agencies to protect public health and the environment. We must not let a few powerful interests who are pushing a failed economic model of coercing farmers into buying both their seeds and their chemicals, hijack our federal regulatory process for GE crop approval – and ultimately steal our right to know about our food,” warned Hirshberg.
JLI is urging supporters of GE foods labeling to ask the House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota to remove the riders, and ensure our right to know about our food.
Fireworks May Not Pack the Only July 4th Surprise
Americans Don’t Know Whether They’ll Be Serving Genetically Engineered Foods, Says National “Just Label It” Coalition
Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2012) – As millions of Americans prepare for July 4th picnics and barbecues with family and friends, Just Label It, the national coalition for genetically engineered (GE) food labeling, urged Washington to stop keeping our citizens in the dark, and require labeling for GE foods.
“This July 4th and all summer long, American families will gather our children and grandchildren around picnic and dinner tables without knowing about the food they’re serving,” JLI Chairman Gary Hirshberg said. “As we celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s freedom, the stark reality is that American families don’t have the information or the freedom to know about the food they eat, which places the United States far behind 50 other nations.” Countries such as Japan, all of Europe, and China already have GE foods labeling.
As families stock up on hamburgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob, and get set to make traditional potato salad and apple pie, millions of us will unknowingly buy foods made with GE ingredients. Having no GE foods labeling denies us the information we need to make informed purchasing decisions, and it may put people with food allergies at significant risk.
“After my child had an allergic reaction to breakfast, I was shocked to learn that GE foods had been introducing proteins and allergens into the U.S. food supply since 1996, and no human trials had been done. This means all of us, including our children, are guinea pigs for the chemical companies who have engineered these crops to withstand increasing doses of their chemicals. We have the right to know about our food. We need GE foods to be labeled,” said Robyn O’Brien, who founded the AllergyKids Foundationto help protect the 1 in 3 American children with allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism.
O’Brien noted that nearly all of the foods served this Independence Day and at every summer barbecue could be genetically engineered. Corn on the cob could be genetically engineered to withstand pesticides. The butter we put on it, along with our hamburgers and hot dogs, could be made from livestock that have been raised on GE feed. Any products that contain conventional soy and corn (soy lecithin, high fructose corn syrup) are likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients. This means all of our condiments, salad dressings, and hamburger and hot dog buns could be genetically modified.
“The right to know is a core American value, and part of the building blocks of our democracy. While the science on the health implications of GE foods is inconclusive, it’s time for government to respond to the will of the people and mandate GE food labeling, so we all have the freedom to decide and choose what our families eat,” concluded Hirshberg.
National Coalition “Just Label It” Urges Defeat of Farmers Assurance Bill
Policy Rider Works to Subvert the Separation of Powers Outlined in U.S. Constitution
Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2012) – Just Label It, the national coalition for genetically engineered (GE) food labeling, urged Americans to fight special interests in Washington who want to deny Americans their right to know about their food. The fight centers around a new provision to the FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that would bar agriculture officials and judges from being able to stop the planting of GE crops when needed.
“This is an unprecedented move by special interests to subvert the separation of powers so carefully laid out in the U.S. Constitution to protect all of our rights,” said Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, Just Label It. “This provision could negatively impact our environment and our health and compromises the consumers’ right to know about our food. It must be defeated.”
The Farmers Assurance Bill was introduced this month on the heels of the defeat of the “Consumers Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food Act” in the Senate. At it again, chemical companies are trying to extend their control by
stripping federal courts of their authority to halt the sale and planting of an unapproved GE crop while the USDA assesses its potential hazards. This unprecedented move would place consumer concerns on a back burner and allow farmers to grow potentially dangerous GE crops during legal appeals of the approval process, instead of afterwards.
Labeled the “Farmer Assurance Provision,” though special interests are the only ones it is designed to assure, this proposed policy rider would: eliminate fundamental and constitutional safeguards of our judicial review system; undermine the USDA’s oversight and approval process and weaken consumer protections; allow powerful chemical companies to dodge reasonable restrictions on potentially hazardous GE crops; and, may compel the USDA to allow all permits for continued planting of unapproved GE crops, even if previously unrecognized health risks are found.
“This has dangerous consequences. It potentially exposes non-GE farmers to substantial damages and, due to international GE-crop trade restrictions, puts our nation’s agricultural markets at risk,” warned Hirshberg.
Just Label It is rallying the members of its more than 540 diverse partner organizations and the public to tell their U.S. representatives to oppose the measure, which is now being debated in the House of Representatives.
“As we continue to voice our concerns about the food system, powerful special interests will continue to push their own, profit-driven positions that negatively affect each and every American,” concluded Hirshberg. “Without the appropriate supervision and safeguards, large corporations will continue to control our food safety, with a high cost to both our health and our environment. “
National Just Label It Coalition Urges FDA to Use 21st Century Science –Not the Five Senses – To Drive GMO Food Policy
Washington, D.C. (May 29, 2012) — Twenty years ago this week, Vice President Dan Quayle announced a new FDA policy that promised to speed up the approval of genetically engineered (GE) foods, relieve them of unnecessary regulation, and “not compromise safety one bit.”*
Despite two decades of scientific advances, and unprecedented initiatives like the record-breaking Just Label It campaign for GMO labeling, the outdated policy remains in place today.
“From the beginning of the Just Label It campaign, we’ve stressed that the FDA must bring its internal guidance up to date with current technology,” said Just Label it chairman Gary Hirshberg, the chairman of Stonyfield, the world’s leading organic yogurt company. “If I ran my company with practices developed over 20 years ago, I’d be out of business. Since 1992, food production in the US has been dramatically altered by new technology and processes, and it’s time that the FDA aligned its standards with the 21st century.”
GMO History 101: FDA Declares GMOs “Equivalent” to Regular Food
The 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which authorized the FDA to oversee the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics, requires the FDA to prevent consumer deception by clarifying that a food label is misleading if it omits significant “material” information.
In 1992, the FDA’s policy statement defined “material” as the ability to be sensed by sight, taste, or other senses, i.e., if you couldn’t see, smell or taste a difference, then it wasn’t different. The FDA said GE foods were “substantially equivalent” to conventionally produced foods, so there was no material difference – and no labeling was required.
“Genetically engineered crops have become a part of our food supply with blinding speed,” said Hirshberg, who noted that 90% of the corn, and over 90% of the soy and cotton in the US is already GE. “While the chemical companies have been reiterating Dan Quayle’s promises of safety, the reality is that the use of these GE crops has resulted in the increased use of hundreds of millions of pounds of insecticides and pesticides. Consumers need the right to know if their foods have been genetically engineered so they can choose whether or not to support these practices and make informed decisions about the food they eat and feed their families.”
National Just Label It Coalition Calls for New Era of Transparency in Government
Says U.S. Senate’s Failure to Approve Studies of Genetically Engineered Salmon Works Against the 92% of Americans Who Believe in the Right to Know About Our Food
Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2012) – Today’s U.S. Senate decision to allow the first genetically engineered animal, salmon, to get a step closer to being deregulated and made commercially available without environmental and economic impact studies is a glaring example of the need for transparency in America, according to Just Label It, the national coalition of more than 500 diverse organizations working for mandatory GMO labeling.
“More than 92% of Americans believe in the right to know about the food we eat and feed our families,” a right held by citizens in more than 50 other nations around the world, including all of Europe, Russia and China. Yet the elected officials in the greatest democracy on earth have chosen to deny this right for the very people they represent,” said Just Label It chairman Gary Hirshberg, the chairman of Stonyfield, the world’s leading organic yogurt company.
“People on all sides of the political spectrum are voicing concern and distrust with how government and companies are making decisions. We’re living in a new era of transparency, and government can no longer justify keeping us in the dark.”
Mounting demand for the right to make informed decisions is responsible for the unprecedented success of the Just Label It initiative, according to Hirshberg. Just Label It generated more than 1.2 million comments on the FDA GMO Labeling petition in only 180 days – the largest number of comments on a food petition in the history of the FDA.
Fervor has only increased since March, when the petition’s comment period closed and the FDA said it needed further time for review. It took only five days for Just Label It to generate 25,000 GMO labeling signatures on the White House “We The People” on-line petition tool, and a response from the White House is imminent. California succeeded in raising the nearly one million signatures needed to put GMO labeling on the statewide ballot this fall, and18 other states have GMO labeling efforts.
“The jury is still out on GMOs, but while we debate their pros and cons, an entire generation has grown up consuming them. They should have had the right to make an informed decision about their food, but they were kept in the dark, along with the rest of us,” said Hirshberg. “The Senate’s decision to oppose further study of GE salmon is unconscionable. The time is now for a new era of transparency where people who make these sorts of decisions are held accountable.”
National JUST LABEL IT Coalition for GMO Labeling Applauds California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative
Washington, D.C. (May 2, 2012) – Just Label It (JLI), the national coalition of 525 diverse organizations working for GMO labeling, today congratulated the California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative, for its record-breaking success in being the first state to gather enough signatures (971,126) to put the labeling of genetically engineered foods on its statewide ballot this fall. In March, Just Label It celebrated the generation of more than 1 million public comments in support of a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most comments on a food petition in FDA history.
“Just like people in more than 40 countries around the world, including Japan, China and all of Europe, Californians have a right to know about the food they eat and feed their families, and so does everyone in every state across America,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield and a partner in the Just Label it campaign. “With so much momentum driving the consumer right to know movement, Washington will be hard-pressed not to respond to the will of the people. There is no turning back consumer demand for the right to know.
Right to Know: A Historic Consumer Movement
Last October, JLI partner, the Center for Food Safety, filed a petition (Docket FDA 2011-P-0723-001/CP) calling on the FDA to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. It took only 180 days to generate a record-breaking 1,149,967 public comments.
By March 27, 2012, the “due date” when the FDA was required to respond to the petition, the FDA concluded, “We have not been able to reach a decision on your petition… We hope to be able to complete the review of your petition and respond to your request in the near future.” Now more than a month after the comment period closed, the FDA still has not finished tallying the more than one million comments from people all across America.
Since then, JLI petitioned President Obama to take a stand on labeling of GMOs, exceeding in less than five days the 25,000 signatures threshold needed to garner a response from the White House. In addition, JLI is continuing to gather signatures on its website to keep the pressure on the FDA to mandate labeling.
Pollster Mark Mellman of the Mellman Group, who conducted a national consumer political opinion poll which showed 91% of Americans want GMOs to be labeled, said, “In a country seemingly dominated by partisan polarization…it’s hard to find issues, outside of motherhood and apple pie, that can muster over 90 percent support. In a recent survey for Just Label It, we found one.”
Record-breaking One Million Americans Tell FDA: We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food
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.”
Consumer-backed Effort to Label Genetically Engineered Food Releases Video by Food, Inc. Filmmaker Robert Kenner
Boston, MA (Jan. 18, 2012) — With more than a half-million consumers already on board, a campaign petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label genetically engineered (GE) food today launched the video “Labels Matter” to garner even more consumer awareness and participation. Encouraging consumers to fight to know what is in their food, the video is the result of collaboration between the Just Label It campaign (www.justlabelit.org) and filmmaker Robert Kenner.
“‘Labels Matter’ captures my conviction that consumers have the right to know what is in their food,” said Kenner, who produced and directed the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary FOOD, INC. “Labels Matter” is a part of Kenner’s FixFood project, a social media platform to empower Americans to take immediate action to create a more sustainable and democratic food system.
Consumers can view the film at the Just Label It website (www.justlabelit.org) and download it to share with family and friends and through social media. The video also appears on www.fixfood.org.
Organizers of the Just Label It (JLI) campaign predict the drumbeat for mandatory GE labeling is only going to get louder as FDA prepares to approve GE salmon and a proposal advances at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deregulate corn engineered to be resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D, a major component in Agent Orange.
Unlike the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and even China, the United States does not require labeling for GE foods. The video portrays three average American consumers, who represent the vast majority of Americans (90% in most studies) who believe GE foods should be labeled. In the video,
three consumers share why they want to know what is in the food they eat. One is a mother whose child developed an allergic reaction to breakfast. Another is a pregnant woman who knows what she eats could affect her developing fetus. The third has recently had a heart attack and wants to monitor what she eats.
JLI is a broad-based coalition of 460 consumer, parenting, food, retail, farming, and public health groups that has generated more than a half-million consumer comments on a legal petition (Docket # FDA-2011-P-0723-0001/CP) calling on FDA to label GE foods. Stonyfield Farm Chairman Gary Hirshberg, a founder of JLI who was in FOOD, INC., approached Kenner on behalf of the campaign to partner on the video.
“While the pros and cons of GE foods are debated, an entire generation is growing up consuming them,” said Hirshberg, the father of three. “Until we have no doubt that GE crops are safe to eat, consumers should have a choice about whether we want to eat them. GE foods must be labeled. Consumers need to know.”
Just Label It Launches Consumer Campaign Calling for the Right to Know What is in Our Food
NEW YORK and DENVER (Oct. 4, 2011) — A coalition of nearly 400 businesses and organizations dedicated to food safety and consumer rights today called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, to give consumers the right to know what is in our food.
The Just Label It – We Have a Right to Know (www.justlabelit.org) campaign submitted a petition on behalf of millions of consumers to the FDA calling for the mandatory labeling of GE foods, also referred to as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. These are foods that are altered at the molecular level in ways that could not happen naturally.
The petition filed with FDA calls for products that use ingredients produced with genetic engineering to disclose this information on the label. By not informing consumers that they are purchasing GE foods, the public is misled into purchasing misbranded foods. Since 1992, the FDA has rejected labeling of GE foods. By contrast, labeling is required in countries including the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Brazil and China. Pending before the FDA is a decision on whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal—a salmon that grows to maturity twice as fast as normal—and if approved, whether to require labeling on this salmon.
“We are asking the FDA to change a decade’s old and out of touch policy,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety and lead author of the petition. “Today’s consumers are more informed than ever, and they have a right to know about the foods they are purchasing and consuming. We want the FDA to require labeling on foods intentionally produced using genetic engineering.”
The Just Label It: We Have a Right to Know campaign Web site, www.justlabelit.org, allows consumers an easy, one-click method to notify the FDA of their support for the petition and stay up to date on the initiative. The site also offers education tools to get informed about GE foods, the benefits of labeling foods and ways to stay engaged through blogs and social media. The campaign also launched a video that conveys the point of the initiative: Without labeling, families are being kept in the dark.
“Polls show that consumers demand transparency in the foods they buy and overwhelmingly support labeling of GE food,” said Dr. Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, the public policy division of Consumer Reports. “In order to make informed decisions, the public deserves a truthful marketplace.”
A 2010 Thomson Reuters PULSE™ Healthcare Survey, “National Survey of Healthcare Consumers: Genetically Engineered Food,” showed that 93 percent of Americans believe GE foods should be labeled.
The foods that are most likely to be genetically engineered are processed foods containing corn, soy, canola and cottonseed oil. Nearly 90 percent of corn, 94 percent of soy, and 90 percent of cottonseed grown in the US are from GE seeds. These ingredients are most often found in packaged foods like cereals, crackers, cookies, chips, frozen meals and more.
“Scientists and consumers alike have many reasons for being concerned about the long-term health and environmental consequences of genetically engineered foods. And the scientific debate about the benefits and risks of these crops will continue for a long time. Meanwhile an entire generation will have grown up consuming them,” said Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm, a member of the coalition. “While our reasons for wanting to know what is in our food may vary, the one thing no one can debate is that it is our right to know. Without labeling of GE foods, we cannot make informed choices about the foods we eat and, we all should have this choice while the debate continues.”
The diverse coalition’s nearly 400 members includes the American Nurses Association, breastcancer.org, Center for Food Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union (publishers of Consumer Reports), Franciscan Action Network, National Cooperative Grocers Association Physicians for Social Responsibility, Union of Concerned Scientists, numerous food companies and many more. For a complete list, go to http://justlabelit.org/about/partners.
For more information, visit www.justlabelit.org.