A week ago, the Just Label It campaign announced that it had secured 1 million signatures, the highest ever for a food-related protest to the FDA.
In case you are not familiar with the Just Label It campaign, here’s a quick summary.
Last fall, a petition was filed with the FDA to mandate that genetically-modified foods (GMOs) be labeled. For several months, people could comment on this filing and a nationwide campaign was established (Just Label It) to help raise awareness, build support, and gather signatures.
The window to submit comments to the FDA closed last week, and we were able to submit a record-setting 1 million signatures.
Why is this initiative so important?
GMOs carry very serious health risks, and people need to be informed about what they are eating.
Given that 80% of the food on supermarket shelves contain GMOs, labeling is a must.
The U.S. is the only developed country in the world that does not require GMOs to be labeled, and this filing to the FDA aims to change that.
Now that we have gathered all of these signatures and the FDA has them, what happens now?
From what I have been hearing, the following will probably take place.
1) All the FDA has to do is to say, “Yes, we have received your petition.” Nothing more. They don’t have to make a ruling on it or form a committee to investigate or hold a public hearing.
They just have to respond to the petition, in whatever form they like. So, that will probably be “Yes, we got it.”
Additionally, since this is an election year, President Obama is surely not going to risk alienating any political support from Big Ag and the chemical industry by forcing GMO-companies to label their foods.
2) After a certain period of time, or inaction by the FDA, we will probably end up suing the FDA and this case will be decided in the courts.
The FDA requires that over 3,000 additives, ingredients, and processes be labeled but not genetically-modified ingredients.
Furthermore, the U.S. Patent Office gives patents to GMOs because they are unique and different, but the FDA and USDA believe that GMOs and non-GMOs are essentially the same thing. How does this make any sense whatsoever?
The bottom line is that consumers are being denied their basic rights – to know what is in their food – and the FDA is denying us this right because it is so heavily influenced by Big Ag.
Big Ag knows that if GMOs are labeled, sales of GM-food will drop and the demand for organics will go through the roof.
Unfortunately, much of the general public doesn’t understand what GMOs are nor their health risks.
HOW CITIZENS CAN IMPACT PUBLIC POLICY
As you can tell, federal policy concerning the labeling of GMOs is dictated by (1) a president who promised to label GMOs on the campaign trail in 2007 and his since turned his back on organics; and (2) government agencies that are completely beholden to Big Ag.
As determined by an ABC poll, 93% of Americans want GMOs labeled but federal policy does not support the wishes of the citizens of our country. So, what can we do about it?
We must all support and get involved with the California ballot initiative to get GMOs labeled.
Even if you don’t live in California, it doesn’t matter. You still can play a vital role.
We need every single person behind this ballot initiative because citizens, not politicians or bureaucrats, will vote on whether GMOs must be labeled in that state.
And since California is the biggest economy in the U.S., the impact will be enormous and will certainly cause a ripple effect throughout the rest of the country.
Given that the federal government is more concerned about corporate profits than the health of its people, the best way for us to make nationwide change is to do it on the state level. And it starts with California.
Please read my recent post on what exactly the California ballot initiative is and why we need every person in the entire country involved in it.
Thank you so much for supporting organic food and for defending our our rights as American citizens.