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Powerful Forces Seek to Prohibit Labeling Foods as GM-Free

Powerful Forces Seek to Prohibit Labeling Foods as GM-Free

Prohibit Labeling Foods as GM-Free
Organic Oranges (photo by Darnok, courtesy of

Several months ago American Feast’s president called for the labeling of GE/GM (genetically engineered or genetically modified) foods. As Elise Pearlstein, producer of the Oscar nominated film Food Inc. has said, “It’s outrageous that genetically modified foods don’t need to be labeled…Whatever your position, you should have the right to make informed choices, and we don’t.”

Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, and more than 80 farmers, public health, environmental, and organic food organizations have sent a letter to Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Food at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and to Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), expressing serious concerns that a proposed U.S. position on food labeling would create major problems for American producers who want to label their products as free of genetically modified (GM)/genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is a United Nations agency that develops food safety and labeling standards. Its standards carry weight because they are used to settle disputes at the World Trade Organization. The Codex Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL) meets in Quebec City, Canada May 3-7, 2010 to discuss the labeling issue.

“We are concerned that the current U.S. position could potentially create significant problems for food producers in the U.S. who wish to indicate that their products contain no GE ingredients. Organic food in particular, which prohibits GE ingredients, are frequently labeled ‘GE-free’ or ‘No GMOs’. A recent CU poll found that two-thirds of consumers would be concerned if they thought that GE/GM ingredients were in organic food,” said Dr. Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union.

Current USDA organic rules specifically state that GE seed cannot be used in organic production and the FDA has taken the position that within the U.S., voluntary labeling as to whether or not a product contains GE ingredients is permissible.

As for the claim that GM foods are needed to feed a hungry world, Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist in the Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment Program has concluded “…that GE (genetic engineering) has done little to increase overall crop yields.” And a major study conducted at the University of Kansas has found that the controversial technology actually reduces crop yields.

“When polled, consumers have made it clear that they want GM (genetically-modified) foods labeled as such. It’s time for the government they elected to listen to them,” says Jeff Deasy, founder and president of American Feast.

To view the letter sent to the FDA and the USDA cited above, go to: Consumers Union

To express your support for the labeling of GM foods, go to: Food Democracy Now

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To learn more about the award-winning film cited above, go to Food Inc. DVD

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To follow American Feast’s Founder on Twitter go to: Jeff Deasy on Twitter

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