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.”
About Just Label It
JUST LABEL IT (JLI) is a national coalition of 500 diverse organizations dedicated to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as genetically modified, or GMOs. The Just Label It message is simple: consumers have a right to know about our food so we can make informed choices about what we eat and feed our families. For updated information, visit the Just Label It website, (www.justlabelit.org)
What is a GMO?
“Genetically engineered foods,” “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have been created through application of transgenic, gene-splicing techniques that are part of biotechnology. This relatively new science allows DNA (genetic material) from one species to be transferred into another species, creating transgenic organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even viral gene pools. The mixing of genes from different species that have never shared genes in the past is what makes GMOs and GE crops so unique. It is impossible to create such transgenic organisms through traditional crossbreeding methods.