Monday, May 9, 2011

California legislature passes bill to require labels on genetically modified salmon

California legislature passes bill to require labels on genetically modified salmon

Dissatisfied with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current review of the first-ever proposed commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) salmon, late yesterday the California Assembly Health Committee approved a bill which would require that all GE fish sold in California contain clear and prominent labeling. The bill, AB 88, was introduced by Assemblymember Jared Huffman. The Center for Food Safety (CFS), a co-sponsor of the bill, applauds the Health Committee for protecting the public’s right to know how their food is produced.

“The FDA has indicated that it will not require these GE fish to be labeled once they are approved,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety. “As such, it is incumbent on the California State legislature, starting with the Health Committee, to let the people of California make informed choices about the food they eat by requiring the labeling of GE fish sold in California.”

Public opinion clearly and consistently calls for food labeling. Recent polls indicate that 95% of the public want labeling of genetically-modified foods, and that nearly 50% of the public would not eat seafood that has been genetically engineered. Consumers sent nearly 400,000 public comments to FDA demanding the agency reject this application and require mandatory labeling of this transgenic salmon should it decide to approve it.

The Center for Food Safety recently called on the FDA to recognize the immense public outcry for mandatory labeling of untested, unapproved transgenic salmon. CFS led a broad coalition of consumer, environmental, religious and animal welfare groups, along with commercial and recreational fisheries associations and food retailers, grocers and chefs in demanding the FDA deny approval of the long-shelved AquaBounty transgenic salmon and require mandatory labeling of the fish is approved despite intense opposition. If approved the transgenic salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal intended for human consumption.

“Until FDA completes an adequate environmental and human health review of genetically engineered salmon, it is up to individual states to protect consumers and their families,” said Spector. “California has always been a leader in environmental and food safety laws, and AB 88 continues this tradition by protecting the public from a potentially harmful food technology. More importantly, it gives consumers the right to know what they are eating and gives them a choice in the marketplace.”

Read CFS’s testimony presented at the Health Committee hearing at the link.
Codex to consider labelling for genetically modified food


"Next week, committee members of Codex, the UN-sponsored would-be global regulator, will be reviewing guidelines for genetically engineered (GE) foods. The US delegation to the committee says—surprise—that no labeling is needed! An URGENT new Action Alert —the deadline to send comments is TODAY.

The Codex Committee on Food Labeling will meet May 9–13 in Québec City, Canada, where members will review the Codex guidelines on labeling food. Among the items for review are the Codex labeling standards for genetically engineered foods.

The Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “Food Code”) is a collection of internationally adopted food standards, guidelines, codes of practice, and other recommendations which supporters hope will become a global standard. The US is a Codex Committee member country.

In preparation of the upcoming meeting in Canada, the US delegates held a public meeting in Washington, DC, on April 25 to discuss their draft position that they will present in Québec. ANH-USA attended that meeting—and the US position is pretty dismal. The US draft position is open for public comment only through May 2, so we are sending this newsletter out a little early.

Of particular interest is the US position on GE labeling. Codex currently does not have any requirements for mandatory process labeling. US delegates said that there is no need for GE labeling!

This means that the US delegation is advocating a position on GE labeling that is inconsistent with the perspective of US citizens. In a 2008 Consumers Union nationwide poll, 95 percent of respondents said they thought food from genetically engineered animals should be labeled.

The US delegation adds that the “claimed right to know is ill-defined and variable and in this respect could not be used by Codex as the primary basis of decision-making on appropriate labeling.”
The US delegation is embarrassing. Their statement is illogical and makes crystal clear that they are bought and sold by the biotech/industrial ag lobby. Many of the other countries want labelling, and the majority of people in this country do as well. Yet they continue to go against all of this to tow the corporate line. So while I am happy to see California take this step, watch to see the pressure exerted to stop it.

And also, while I am not a Codex fan, if they should somehow come to their senses and move forward to labelling of genetically modified foods the U.S. would be going against a global standard that in the longrun will hurt us economically and environmentally. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this.

This is a hugely important issue regarding our environment pollution... biological pollution that is self replicating, unlike chemical pollution that can dissipate over time. However, omce we have polluted our planet with this type of DNA bioligcal pollutions whose effects on humans and other species have not been tested, there is no calling it back.

So while ultimately I do believe we need to ban GMOs and place a moratorium on any new one being foisted upon us with no regulation or adequate independent studies, labelling these substances to inform consumers is what must be done in the interim. However, resistance from the biotech/industrial ag lobby is strong, and they have the money and connections to take any steps necessary to take away your right to know what you are consuming.

Don't let them get away with it. Become informed and active. This is one video that will give you a look into just what this type of unnatural selection is doing to our planet from BT cotton to GM salmon.

Labelling and boycotting are now the only ways to fight this assault on our food sovereignty and the planet's biodiversity.

Write your state legislatures. Our voices do matter!

1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.