There’s a new movement in America, of people who want to know where their food comes from and what’s in it. Just witness the last decade’s amazing growth of organic foods, farmers markets and CSAs. Here at Stonyfield, we believe that everyone has a right to know what’s in their food. Because we are committed to using only the best organic ingredients from family farms, you can trust that our yogurt was made without persistent toxic pesticides, synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, or genetically engineered ingredients. We want you to have peace of mind with every spoonful.
You know what’s in Stonyfield’s yogurt and how it is produced; unfortunately, that’s not true for much of the food in the marketplace. I’m writing today to invite you to help us change that. Please join Stonyfield in a groundbreaking and historic campaign to persuade our government to protect everyone’s right to know what is in our food. The Just Label It – We Have a Right to Know (www.justlabelit.org) campaign is calling for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require a label on all foods produced with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Read on to learn more about the campaign and what you can do to help.
The term genetically engineered (GE, or sometimes GMO – genetically modified organism) refers to a plant or animal that has been altered through the insertion of genetic material from another species, creating something that wouldn’t ever occur in nature. Genetically engineered ingredients are already in 60-70% of all non-organic processed foods, but most people don’t know this because companies aren’t required to disclose when their products were produced with GE ingredients.
We don’t think that’s right and it’s one of the reasons why all of our products are certified organic. Organic standards prohibit the use of genetic engineering, so you can trust that any certified organic product was produced without the use of GE ingredients.
We’re worried about the impact that widespread production of GE crops is having on the health of our families and our planet. There is no question that their use has resulted in the increased use of hundreds of millions of pounds of herbicides. And we are now seeing an explosive increase in the use of carcinogenic defoliants to control herbicide tolerant weeds. Several National Academy of Sciences studies have affirmed that genetically engineered crops have the potential to introduce new toxins or allergens into our food and environment. Yet unlike the FDA’s strict safety evaluations for approval of new drugs, there are no mandatory human clinical trials of genetically engineered crops, no tests for carcinogenicity or harm to fetuses, no long term testing for human health risks, and only very limited, short term testing on animals, and testing for allergenicity. There have been no large scale public health studies of the possible impacts of the consumption of GE crops on health.
The FDA has even acknowledged that GE crops may cause increased risks of allergenicity, toxicity, and potentially lowering nutrition. Despite this, their policies are still rooted in a 19th century conception of how food should be regulated – as long as GE crops look, smell, and taste the same as their non-GE counterparts, and have roughly the same nutritional value, no labeling is required. It’s time for the FDA to start regulating 21st century technologies with 21st century science. This starts by acknowledging that GE foods need to be labeled, so we can all make an informed decision about whether we want to eat them.
Scientists and consumers alike have many reasons for being concerned about the long-term health and environmental consequences of genetically engineered foods. The scientific debate about the benefits and risks of these crops is likely to continue for a long time. Meanwhile, an entire generation will have grown up consuming them. The bottom line is, until we know without a doubt that GE crops are safe to eat, we should have a choice about whether we want to eat them.
That’s why we’ve joined forces to launch this campaign with more than 300 partner organizations that together represent millions of Americans. Just Label It partner organizations include healthcare, farming, environmental and consumer organizations, manufacturers, retailers and more. Partners include the American Nurses Association, Consumers Federation, breastcancer.org, Healthy Child Healthy World, Farm Aid and Bon Appetit Management, to mention just a few.
While our individual reasons for joining this campaign may vary, what unifies us is the belief that it’s our right to know. It’s time for a label on GE foods. Without labelling of GE foods, we cannot make informed choices about the foods we eat, and we all should have this choice while the debate continues.
Here’s How You Can Help:
Please join us and demand your right to know what’s in your food. You can do it online and it takes just a couple of seconds. Go to JustLabelit.org and send a message to the FDA telling them you want GE foods labeled.
You can also watch the video “Dining In The Dark,” share it with your Facebook friends and encourage them to tell the FDA that they too have the right to know what’s in their food.
It takes just a few seconds at JustLabelit.org to show your support for a label on GE foods. There is no doubt that the biotech companies have a powerful voice in Washington, and it will not be easy to force companies to put a label on their GE products. But together we can make this happen. Let’s make sure the FDA hears our voices loud and clear: Americans want GE foods labeled.
I hope you’ll join us in this important campaign.
Gary Hirshberg President and CE-Yo