National Momentum Building On Labeling GMO Foods
By Consumers Union on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
The national drumbeat about genetically engineered food is getting louder. And each one of you who talk about, share on your networks, or take action to label GMO foods is helping bang the drum.
Monsanto, can you hear that?
Just last week, voters in two rural Oregon farming counties banned GMO crops. The vote was a huge blow to pro-GMO forces, as the deep pockets of the giant chemical and agribusiness industries failed to sway residents.
Despite the GMO lobby dumping $1 million in just one community to defeat the ban – Jackson County, with only 200,000 people — voters and farmers stood strong and refused genetically engineered crops.
That victory has set fire to the rest of the state. Activists in Oregon are gathering signatures to put GMO labeling on the November ballot. And similar ballot efforts are underway in Colorado and Arizona.
While mothers, students and farmers are standing up for their right to know what’s in their food, state lawmakers are also doing their part. Vermont passed the first labeling bill in the nation with no strings attached, a groundbreaking law that opponents – including the powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association — have already threatened to challenge in court.
Even with the threat of lawsuits and the chemical-industry hammer, states are moving forward.
- Maine and Connecticut have labeling laws on the books that will go into effect when other states in the region follow suit.
- California, which saw its GMO labeling ballot measure defeated by a razor-thin margin in 2012 after opponents spent $46 million to kill it, has just moved a bill to the Senate floor and will vote on it by May 30. Again, it will take residents speaking out to get the bill across the finish line this session.
- New York, a standard-bearer in the Northeast, is moving a labeling bill after it died under intense lobbying last year. But the clock is ticking – NY legislators have until June 19th to pass it. Which means residents need to inundate their members now with messages of support.
All of this local momentum has gotten the attention of Washington, D.C. A bill has been introduced in both the House and Senate requiring GMO labeling. But opponents countered with their own measure to block states from implementing labeling laws, and even prevent the FDA from requiring labeling.
While those bills compete, there is some good news in our nation’s capital. A bill to label GMO salmon has passed out of the Senate Appropriations committee and is moving forward – quite a feat in today’s gridlocked Congress!
And the marketplace is taking notice too. In the last month Cheerios and Post Grape Nuts have eliminated GMOs from their products, and Whole Foods has promised that any GMOs in their stores will be labeled by 2018.
Help us keep the momentum going in this epic battle for your right to know what’s in your food! Keep posting, forwarding email and talking to your friends and neighbors about GMO labeling. Buy non-GMO products and support restaurants that offere non-GMO foods. And contact Tim Marvin, TMarvin@consumer.org, if you want to get more involved with our campaigns.