September 17, 2014

GMO Labeling Requirement Gains Traction Nation-wide

pin it button GMO Labeling Requirement Gains Traction Nation wide

Americans want GMOs labeled1 GMO Labeling Requirement Gains Traction Nation wide

Health Impact News Editor Comments: The GMO labeling issue is taking a new turn early here in 2013. Some of the major food companies are now beginning to discuss labeling initiatives. As the story below by the N.Y. Times shows, the issue is becoming more than just a consumer rights issue, but also a major economical issue as the state initiative in Washington State illustrates.

How long can the U.S. continue to hold out on being one of the last nations in the world to require labeling of GMO products? If it wants to continue its participation in world trade, I suspect not much longer. But, given the powerful lobby of the biotech companies, don’t expect the FDA or government to just automatically do what is right if it is not popular with the GMO seed companies. We could end up with such a watered-down GMO label requirement that it could be basically worthless. So this is one issue we will need to keep a close eye on here in 2013.

Genetic Changes to Food May Get Uniform Labeling

By STEPHANIE STROM
N.Y. Times

Excerpts:

With Washington State on the verge of a ballot initiative that would require labeling of some foods containing genetically engineered ingredients and other states considering similar measures, some of the major food companies and Wal-Mart, the country’s largest grocery store operator, have been discussing lobbying for a national labeling program.

Executives from PepsiCo, ConAgra and about 20 other major food companies, as well as Wal-Mart and advocacy groups that favor labeling, attended a meeting in January in Washington convened by the Meridian Institute, which organizes discussions of major issues.

The inclusion of Wal-Mart has buoyed hopes among labeling advocates that the big food companies will shift away from tactics like those used to defeat Proposition 37 in California last fall, when corporations spent more than $40 million to oppose the labeling of genetically modified foods.

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

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

Proponents of labeling in Washington State have taken a somewhat different tack from those in California, arguing that the failure to label will hurt the state’s fisheries and apple and wheat farms. “It’s a bigger issue than just the right to know,” Ms. Bialic said. “It reaches deep into our state’s economy because of the impact this is going to have on international trade.”

A third of the apples grown in Washington State are exported, many of them to markets for high-value products around the Pacific Rim, where many countries require labeling. Apple, fish and wheat farmers in Washington State worry that those countries and others among the 62 nations that require some labeling of genetically modified foods will be much more wary of whole foods than of processed goods.

“If there is a documented issue with this overseas, it could have a devastating impact on the U.S. food system and agriculture,” Mr. Benbrook said. “The F.D.A. isn’t going to get very far with international governments by saying Monsanto and Syngenta told us these foods are safe and we believed them.”

Read the Full Article Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/01/business/food-companies-meet-to-weigh-federal-label-for-gene-engineered-ingredients.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&hp


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Costa Rica Supreme Court: GMO Approval Process Unconstitutional

Costa Rica Supreme Court: GMO Approval Process Unconstitutional

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In a ruling lauded by Costa Rica’s anti-GMO activists, the country’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court struck down the government’s regulatory framework on genetically modified organisms, declaring the process of approval for GMO projects unconstitutional.

In the court’s opinion, Chief Justice Gilbert Armijo Sancho wrote that the regulations violate the Costa Rican Constitution because the secrecy allowed to GMO companies in terms of the genetic information of their products violates the constitutional right to freedom of information.

“This is an important precedent that shows the interests of companies linked to this type of activity – among them the multinational Monsanto which is seeking permits to plant corn – have benefited from the granting of permits in a manner that violates the fundamental rights of the population,” FECON said.

GMO Golden Rice not so “Golden” After All: Farmers Call to Stop GMO Rice Trials

GMO Golden Rice not so “Golden” After All: Farmers Call to Stop GMO Rice Trials

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GM Golden Rice was developed at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines with the hope that it could provide more vitamin A through beta carotene. The project was a huge disaster, however, and basically shelved for years. But then Bill Gates came along, the college-drop-out-turned-billionaire who started Microsoft Corp., looking for something to spend his billions of dollars to promote. All of a sudden, with big money providing jobs to pursue a failed project, GM Golden Rice had new life.

There’s just one problem: the Asian farmers don’t want it. Philippine farmers have called for a halt to field trials after very poor results, large debts, and a concern for their native rice seeds.

Are Experimental Vaccines Growing in a GMO Corn Field Near You?

Are Experimental Vaccines Growing in a GMO Corn Field Near You?

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With more and more people waking up to the dangers and false claims being made for vaccines today, it is becoming more difficult for the pharmaceutical lobbyists to enact mandatory vaccination laws at the local level. A recent bill in Colorado was defeated when citizens turned out to oppose legislation that would have prohibited vaccine exemptions. Are pharmaceutical companies now looking for new ways to market their vaccines that bypass the freedom to choose completely without the consumer even realizing they are consuming their products? The chemical industry, after all, has been successful for years in getting municipalities to put fluoride in public water supplies completely bypassing consumer choice.

Recently obtained information through a freedom of information act shows that pharmaceutical companies and biotech are teaming up to produce genetically modified corn that will contain vaccines like hepatitis B. There are secret locations along California’s Central Coast where plots of experimental genetically engineered corn are producing proteins for industrial and pharmaceutical uses, including an experimental vaccine for hepatitis B.

Guatemala Strikes Down ‘Monsanto Law’

Guatemala Strikes Down ‘Monsanto Law’

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In a close vote, Guatemala’s Congress rejects genetically modified seeds in country’s agricultural development. The law would have authorized stricter property rights and risked monopolizing agricultural processes in the country by placing copyrights on agriculture for the next 25 years.

Asian Farmers and Scientists Say No to GMO Golden Rice

Asian Farmers and Scientists Say No to GMO Golden Rice

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GM Golden Rice was developed at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines with the hope that it could provide more vitamin A through beta carotene. The project was a huge disaster, however, and basically shelved for years. But then Bill Gates came along, the college-drop-out-turned-billionaire who started Microsoft Corp., looking for something to spend his billions of dollars to promote. All of a sudden, with big money providing jobs to pursue a failed project, GM Golden Rice has new life.

There are multiple problems with GMO Golden Rice, including the fact that the people from rice-producing countries do not want it!

Recently many top scientists and farmer advocates from rice-producing countries met in the Philippines in an effort to try and stop more field testing, and the commercialization of Golden Rice. The science behind Golden Rice does not prove benefits, and it threatens genetic diversity among traditional rice varieties which is necessary in many parts of the world that experience natural and man-made disasters. Like any GMO seed crop, Golden Rice would take the future of farming in rice-producing countries away from the control of the farmers and give it to multinational corporations that would then control the rice seed supplies.

MASIPAG (Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development) in the Philippines hosted the event earlier this year, and has recently provided video interviews from some of the participants in English.

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