The fact of the matter is we may be at a tipping point when it comes to labeling GMOs in our food supply. The two state initiatives that failed by slim margins in California and Washington brought national awareness to the issue. Most consumers and parents around the country asked, “If there is nothing wrong with it, why not just label it?” Now there are state initiatives in Oregon, Connecticut, Colorado, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Hawaii. Connecticut and Maine have passed legislation that requires a host of Northeastern states with 20 million some residents to pass similar legislation before their laws take effect in earnest. The Just Label campaign has been making a lot of headway both publicly and behind the scenes to bring attention to the fact that we need national labeling, and we need it now.
Just Label It continues to make a significant impact on Capitol Hill, with The White House and the FDA and in the media. But the most important work I believe the campaign is doing is actually behind the scenes and out of the spotlight. Just Label It has met with Grocery Manufactures Association (GMA) member companies who, thanks in large part to the state efforts, are finally realizing labeling is a lot less expensive for their brands than fighting against citizens’ rights state-by-state. The Cheerios and Grape Nuts announcements are likely symbolic of this change of heart. We must, however, remain vigilant that the GMA does not produce a watered down version of national GMO labeling.
Additional JLI 2013 accomplishments include:
- Administration Outreach – JLI has advocated for labeling before key Administration officials, including officials within the White House, HHS, FDA, USTR and USDA. In particular, they worked to demand labeling for GMO salmon as the FDA finalizes its consideration.
- Historic GMO Labeling Votes – JLI worked to persuade the Senate and the Senate Appropriations Committee to require GMO labeling for genetically engineered fish.
- GE Labeling Cost Analysis – JLI engaged marketing expert Kai Robertson to conduct and release groundbreaking research demonstrating that GMO labeling would not increase food prices.
- Supporting State Action – JLI greatly expanded support of numerous state GMO labeling efforts in 2013.
- JLI Coalition Growth – JLI expanded coalition membership to more than 700 diverse organizations, including a diversity of groups representing farm, food, health, religious, labor and conservation interests.
- JLI Actions — JLI supporters frequently took real action in support of GMO labeling in 2013, including:
57,278 people took action to “Tell the FDA: Label and Fully Review GMO Salmon”
46,665 people took action to “Tell Congress: Support the MOE Food Right to Know Act”
38,806 people took actions to “Tell These Food & Chemical Companies: We Have a Right To Know!”
30,179 people took action to thank senators who voted in favor of labeling GMO Salmon “Thank you for Supporting Our Right to Know”
30,000 people took action to “Tell these Companies: We have a right to know,” calling out companies that have given money to fight transparency
JLI kicked off 2014 with a bang, leading a press conference on Capitol Hill with four members of Congress in which they presented a petition signed by 200 businesses and NGOs, demanding that President Obama honor his 2007 campaign pledge to direct the FDA to move ahead with GMO labeling. Stay tuned; they have plans to be relentless in pursuing the White House on this issue in the months to come.
I hope you have signed up to get the millions of JLI tweets, Facebook postings and other information they continuously put out in order to educate and build a list of active and informed citizens. Be sure to re-tweet and re-post so your friends and family become informed. The power of social media is strong and we need this kind of leadership in messaging if we are to win national labeling.
Check out their website often. It highlights the numerous countries that require GMO labeling, the numbers of states considering GMO labeling laws and the spending by food companies against GMO labeling in California and Washington. You will learn a lot from this website. Always read the remarkable blogs to get the latest low down. Sign the petition to the FDA, which now numbers over 1.4 Million people, the largest number to communicate to the FDA on any issue!
With all this astonishing activity at your fingertips, I encourage you to become very familiar with the Just Label it Campaign. It’s a great way to stay in the know and become a thought leader and pollinator of this mission in your community. If you feel so moved, this is an excellent opportunity to put your money where your belief is and make a donation. The JLI campaign does remarkable work on a relatively small budget. Isn’t it time you joined the Just Label It campaign now?