From sea to sea and the over the Rockies, the news is abuzz with GMO activity. Biotech companies are on the run spending millions. They are planning their next campaign to try to stifle the intensely passionate Right to Know GMO movement. Despite their deep pockets, the reports in the media show there is positive momentum growing around the country. It’s not about debating the science, it is about transparency, so consumers know if they are eating and supporting biotechnology. It’s pretty simple! Just label it!
First Step to Victory in Colorado!!
Last week the Colorado Secretary of State announced that the Right to Know Colorado initiative to label GMO foods would be on the November ballot! The organizers submitted 125,000 valid signatures, which is 40,000 more than the 86,105 needed to make the ballot. The ballot measure will be listed as Proposition 105.
Prop 105 will be hotly contested just as I522 was in Washington and California’s Prop 37. Expect the spending to be prodigious! Food, biotech and other agriculture groups have already put almost $200,000 into a campaign to oppose the state’s ballot initiative to label GMOs in food. The highest donors to the opposition are the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences.
The campaign to support the initiative has raised about $117,000, with the largest donations coming from Food Democracy Now and UNFI. Obviously, if you support this initiative, even if you don’t live in the state, a donation is gratefully accepted and will be put to good work. They need funds to pay for brochures, yard signs, videos, advertisements and flyers. Every dollar helps. If you think it’s important to label GMOs in Colorado, please vote with your dollars so they’ll have the tools needed to win.
They have plenty of volunteer opportunities. You can help out at a booth, take brochures around neighborhoods, make phone calls, host a house party or help with a special event. There are so many opportunities to help and they need a small army! Sign up on the website and tell the team how you’d like to share your talents!
The Daily Camera, Boulder County’s leading paper, gave an endorsement which represents a huge shift in their editorial board’s attitude toward GMO labeling. Erika Stutzman, from the Daily Camera Editorial Board, wrote on Aug. 21st: “In Colorado, where agriculture is so important, and consumers are keenly aware of their health and the environment, the labels make sense.” Read the full commentary here.
Setback in Hawaii
According to the NY Times a federal judge in Hawaii has struck down a local ordinance that would have restricted or regulated the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops on the island of Kauai, saying the measure was preempted by state law. This represents a victory for Syngenta and a setback for the residents.
The National Research Council Will Discuss GMO Crops
It will be interesting to see the outcome of the National Research Council’s three-day semi-public meeting in mid-September. The meeting will focus on the “concepts and questions” surrounding genetically engineered crops, and they have agreed to hear testimony from critics of GMO technology. The meeting is part of a study that the NRC, the operating arm of the National Academies, has launched “to conduct a broad review of available information on genetically-engineered crops in the context of the contemporary global food and agricultural system”. Witnesses will include the esteemed scientist Chuck Benbrook, who has published many findings on the subject. Members of the OTA (Organic Trade Association) staff, Marni Karlin, OTA Vice President of Government Affairs, and Jessica Shade, The Organic Center Director of Science Programs, will be in attendance and will report back on the discussion.
Gary Hirshberg Sets the Record Straight!
If you were able to read Michael Specter’s essay in The New Yorker against labeling genetically engineered foods you may have wondered about his claims. In a letter to the Editor, Gary Hirshberg says “Specter’s New Yorker GMO Labeling Essay Misses the Mark”. He indicates that it is fraught with factual errors, and it misses the fundamental point that people not only want to know what’s in their food, but also how it’s grown. It is a great response and one worth sharing on your social media pages.
There are many places to stay tuned on what is happening with the Right to Know movement. Following the Just Label It Campaign Press Room is a great resource that will give you up-to-the-minute information that you can share with friends and family. If you live in Vermont, keep abreast of the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s lawsuit to stop Vermont from being the first state to require labeling. Keep an eye on the Oregon Proposition 92 that requires the labeling of GMO foods and will also be on the ballot this November. They need your dollars as well as volunteer hours to win!
With so much activity in the news and on the streets, isn’t it time you took a stand? Tell me what you will do to help.
It’s pretty simple! Just label it!