To label or not to label GMOs
Three pro-organic groups have simultaneously launched campaigns to demand genetically modified foods be identified when sold. Two are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to label foods that contain GM ingredients, and the third is calling on President Obama to follow through on such labeling.
The Right2Know group announced its plans to hold a march across the East Coast earlier in September. The march is taking place Oct. 1 through Oct. 16, covering 313 miles from the United Nations to Washington, D.C.
Just Label It: We Have a Right to Know, a coalition claiming 400 businesses and organizations dedicated to pushing FDA to label GM food, submitted a petition to the FDA for mandatory labeling of GM foods this week.
"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 We Have a Right to Know 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."
From my view, we can thank Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for inspiring this week’s actions by the pro-organic, anti-GMO crowd. According to JustLabelIt’s Web site, “The Just Label It Campaign was initiated by Organic Voices, which was started in the spring of 2011 when a group of organic stakeholders met in Washington, D.C., to discuss the contamination threat posed by genetically engineered crops to organic farming.”
That timing is not a coincidence. That’s when Vilsack asked members of the organic community to join with production agriculture stakeholders to discuss ways to coexist. Apparently, the pro-organic groups met outside of the Vilsack meetings and devised their own strategy against production agriculture. What’s interesting is that production agriculture did not launch its own anti-organic campaign after that meeting.
The groups would have you believe this is a grassroots, homegrown message, but that is far from the truth.
Helping lead the march is Joseph Wilhelm, president of Rapunzel, and Indian activist Dr. Vanadana Shiva, both veteran GMO campaigners who twice marched across Europe for controls on GMOs and supported GMO labeling, which is required in the EU. They reportedly are being joined at the events in NYC and Washington, D.C., as well as along the march, by advocates, media personalities, farmers and business leaders who will speak out for GMO labeling, including: Andrew Kimbrell (Founder, Center for Food Safety, Frances Moore Lappѐ (Author, Diet for a Small Planet), Michael Hansen (Senior Scientist, Consumers Union), George Siemon (CEO, Organic Valley) and many others.