We have so much to be proud of today. Every one of you should feel your place in history. We may have lost Prop 37 -- narrowly! -- but we will not be stopped. And when we win transparency in our food system, you will be able to say you were there on the front lines.
Yesterday, we showed that there is a food movement in the United States, and it is strong, vibrant and too powerful to stop. We always knew we were the underdogs, and the underdogs nearly took the day. Dirty money and dirty tactics may have won this skirmish, but they will not win the war.
Today, we are more than 4 million votes closer to knowing what’s in our food than when we started. This is a victory and a giant step forward. We are proud of our broad coalition of moms and dads, farmers, nurses, environmentalists, faith and labor leaders who did so much with so few resources to bring us to this point, and we will carry forward.
These results are also a reminder of the corrupting influence of huge multinational corporations on our electoral process. The world’s leading pesticide and junk food companies outspent Yes on 37 by more than 5 to 1, and beginning on October 1, spent about a million dollars a day on a hailstorm of false claims, misrepresentations and fear mongering over five simple words on a label. In the end, they spent enough money to hide the truth from the majority of voters. But the food manufacturers are on the wrong side of history; they should not fight their customers, but join them.
Today is not the end of our campaign to secure our fundamental right to know what’s in our food. It is a strong beginning, and we thank the millions of Californians who stood with us. We are proud of our grassroots movement, our 10,000 hardworking volunteers, and the diverse coalition of health, faith, labor and consumer groups that stood with us. We will keep fighting for consumer choice, fairness and transparency in our food system.
And we will prevail.
The California Right to Know Campaign
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The FDA Doesn’t Even TEST the Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods
Many people assume that the Food and Drug Administration tests genetically engineered foods for safety.
But as USA Today reports:
Q: Does the FDA test these foods before they’re allowed on the market?
A: No. Instead there is a voluntary consultation process. Genetically engineered foods are overseen by the FDA, but there is no approval process. Foods are presumed to be safe unless the FDA has evidence to the contrary, Jaffe says. The FDA “has to show that there may be a problem with the food, as opposed to the company needing to prove it’s safe to FDA’s satisfaction before it can get on the market,” he says.
Perspectives on Prop 37 (Plus a New GMO-Free Zone in US) from Jeffrey Smith
First of all, let’s celebrate with San Juan County, Washington, for passing its GMO-Free County initiative. Growing GMOs in the San Juan Islands will shortly be illegal. Thanks to all the great volunteers (and the 60% of the voters) who made that possible. I had the great pleasure of doing a speaking tour on three of the islands in September; their campaign was truly an inspiration. Well done San Juan County!
California’s Prop 37 campaign was the latest (and greatest) expression of the rising anti-GMO tide in the US that has swelled over the last 2-3 years. Other expressions have included the popularity of the Non-GMO label in grocery stores, the huge number of activists working on GMO issues, the unprecedented GMO coverage in the media, and the 19 state legislatures that considered GMO labeling bills. These are all early signs of a coming tipping point of consumer rejection. What sets Prop 37 apart, however, was how profoundly it has accelerated anti-GMO sentiment in both quantity and quality.
Huge numbers of people became aware for the first time that they were eating GMOs—we have changed the whole conversation. And numerous actors, chefs, musicians, artists, filmmakers, politicians, comedians, and others chimed in support of our side for the very first time. Being against GMOs or pro-labeling has clearly become cool.
From the quality perspective, I was blown away by the enthusiasm, competence, and utter devotion of the California volunteers. What I witnessed in the more than 50 events I attended throughout the state over the last 90 days was totally unique in my experience. The depth and solidarity of commitment to this issue is profoundly established.
Although we narrowly lost on the vote, the campaign has propelled our movement forward onto a whole new platform. I am more confident and optimistic than ever that we will soon achieve the tipping point that we all desire.
GMO labeling efforts change course after California defeat
No - Dear Citizens,
Thank you all for being out there and especially thanks to the incredible team of activists that even made this run possible. We rocked the US and the world with our effort and we brought this issue to such a high visibility that people are beginning to ask about their food and even doubt that we are being protected by our government agencies. It is finally clear that our system is not protecting us or even giving us a choice. We are on a new course now with the re-election of Obama and the heightened awareness. Now we need to focus on the Federal level and we have learned our arguements well. Please start going to the justlabelit.org website and keep up the fight for our right to know. We will win this and change the way Americans see our food system.
GMO labeling efforts change course after California defeat
By Carey Gillam and Lisa Baertlein
This article was originally published by Reuters on November 7, 2012.
(Reuters) - The failure on Tuesday of a California ballot initiative that would have mandated labeling of genetically modified foods is not a death knell for those seeking nationwide labeling, U.S. labeling proponents said.
President Barack Obama's re-election could be a boost, as he is seen, in general terms, as being supportive of labeling. Still, efforts to force change at a federal level could face an uphill climb.
"The federal effort is a monumental task without a state victory somewhere," said Michele Simon, a public health attorney from California.
New state labeling initiatives are planned for Washington state and Oregon. Beyond that, the action now shifts to Washington, D.C. and efforts to force change at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has primary regulatory oversight for food and food additives.
A citizen's petition is pending with the agency demanding a re-examination of its policy against labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. More than one million people signed on, the most ever for a petition to the FDA, and backers say the effort has been aided by the publicity surrounding the California initiative.
"When we first filed our petition with the FDA over a year ago ... it was only a handful of Washington insiders who fully understood what we were talking about," said Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt company, and chairman of the "Just Label It" campaign. "Now average folks are well educated on this issue."
Supporters of the federal labeling action include organic and natural food companies, environmental and consumer groups.
The petition, filed in October 2011, is the first step in a strategy that could lead to a federal lawsuit against the FDA, said Andrew Kimbrell, the lead attorney with the Center for Food Safety, who wrote the legal petition.
Kimbrell said passage of the California measure would have provided leverage for the federal effort. Its 53 percent to 47 percent defeat in progressive California was a setback, but the legal strategy with the FDA does not depend on state passage.
Rather, CFS hopes to prove that the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, dating back to 1938, is being too narrowly interpreted by FDA and treats modern-day GMO technology in a way that does not comply with the intent of the law to protect consumers.
Genetically modified crops, which have had their DNA spliced with genetic material from other species, have been around for 16 years. Popular biotech crops can survive treatments of weedkiller and are toxic to insects that feed on the crops. And most processed foods sold in the United States contain some GMO corn, soybeans or other crops.
The CFS petition calls on the FDA to declare that molecular or genetic alterations are "material" changes relevant to consumers. The FDA's current policy, set in 1992, holds that foods derived from genetically modified plants were substantially equivalent to those produced through conventional means.
"The combination of FDA's failure to mandate pre-market safety testing and its permissive labeling policy has meant that silent changes to our food supply are tested on the public without their knowledge," the petition alleges.
FDA spokeswoman Morgan Liscinsky said the agency was evaluating the petition and will respond, but declined to comment further.
The California labeling measure failed in part after an onslaught of opposition led by Monsanto Co, the world's largest seed company and the developer of much of the world's genetically modified seed technology.
Campaign finance reports show Monsanto and almost 80 food companies and biotechnology advocates, including PepsiCo and DuPont, spent roughly $46 million to turn back the California effort. They argued that GMO food products are proven safe, and labeling would add unnecessary costs and regulation.
They make a similar argument against any federal labeling mandate, saying the FDA's view that no labeling is needed is proper.
"New biotech foods are appropriately tested for safety," said Karen Batra, spokeswoman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which represents the interests of the biotech seed industry. "No crops are commercialized without USDA and FDA review."
That position frustrates many in the scientific community, who say the industry and regulators are disregarding numerous studies showing harmful impacts from GMO crops.
In a letter published in October in the Independent Science News, more than 70 scientists, academic researchers and professors said that "corporate influence" was stifling research that finds negative implications connected with GMOs.
"We are going to have to come to grips with this. Every major trading partner we deal with has labeling," said Hirshberg. "Labeling of GE (genetically engineered) foods is not a question of whether, but when."
(Reporting By Carey Gillam in Chicago and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Ros Krasny and Tim Dobbyn)
contents of email from Green America Magazine and where we go from here
We here at Green America are disappointed by the defeat of Prop 37 -- the initiative to label GMO products in California -- but we are not deterred.
Big Agriculture massively outspent the pro-labeling forces in California, which only means we need to step up our game in spreading the word about GMOs.
In the US, more than 94 percent of the soy crop, 95 percent of the sugar-beet crop, and 88 percent of the corn crop are genetically modified. Because of the prevalence of soy, corn, and sugar in processed foods, more than 30,000 GMO food products sit on US grocery shelves unlabeled.
GMO food products have not been independently tested by the FDA, and have been linked to food allergies, irritable bowels, cancer, and birth defects. What's more, GMOs harm the environment through increased pesticide-use, the rise of super-bugs and super-weeds, and loss of biodiversity. These are serious consequences, and the public has a right to know what they're supporting and what they are eating when they purchase a product from a grocery-store shelf.
That's why Green America is proud to partner with a broad coalition of allies and green business members to launch the biggest safe food campaign ever: GMO Inside. It's designed to capture people's energy from the fight for Prop 37 and catapult it to the next level, bringing greater awareness to the public about GMOs and the right to know. GMO Inside will focus on getting health-concerned parents to join in with those already activated to become aware of GMOs, switch from products with GMO ingredients to organic and local food, and demand the right to know.
Over the coming months we'll bring you actions to help you find the GMOs in your cupboard, send GMO-laden products back to producers, and send a strong message to the worst offenders that we want to be able to choose food without GMOs. Together, like we did in our Hershey campaign, we'll get big results -- labeling and fewer GMOs in our food supply.
Excess Cancers and Deaths with GM Feed: the Stats Stand Up
In September 2012, the research team led by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen published the findings of their feeding trial on rats to test for toxicity of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and/or Roundup herbicide in the online edition of Food and Chemical Toxicology .
Séralini and his colleagues had previously found evidence for toxicity of GM feed in data from Monsanto’s own experiments, which they had obtained through a Freedom of Information demand . Monsanto challenged their conclusions and, to no one’s great surprise the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) supported Monsanto . So the team decided to run their own experiment, using an unusually large number of animals and over a period of about two years, roughly the life expectancy of the rats, rather than the usual 90 days required in toxicity trials including Monsanto’s.
What Séralini and his colleagues found was that NK603 and Roundup are not only both toxic as expected, but also carcinogenic, which was unexpected. The proportion of treated rats that died during the experiments was much greater than the controls; moreover, in almost all groups a higher proportion developed tumours, and the tumours appeared earlier.