We’ve been pretty busy over here at Food & Water Watch. As many of you have probably been following, a dangerous trend has started with states trying to take away labels that tell consumers whether or not dairy products have been produced with rBGH, a genetically engineered growth hormone. This attempt to make it illegal for dairies to label their milk as rBGH,Free started in Pennsylvania, and has been followed by New Jersey, Ohio and Indiana.
Well, due to tens of thousands of emails, faxes, and phone calls from our activists around the country, weve stopped this trend dead in its tracks, with victories in three of the four states, with our most recent victory coming Tuesday!
Indiana representative Bill Friend introduced a bill that would have made the rBGH,Free labels illegal, and last week the vote passed out of committee with unanimous approval. This is when we heard about the bill, and set our activist network into action. Through our activists, and the joint efforts of many allies and organizations on the ground, as of this week every member of the Indiana General Assembly had been contacted by their constituents! It was this effort, which turned the tide from what seemed like a grim situation last week, to a victory today, when Representative Friend pulled his bill, saying he, “didn’t want to cry over spilled milk.” This was met with audible cheers from folks on the floor, who knew they had fought for consumers and won. I think we can attribute this victory to the amazing grass roots pressure we were able to mount over the last week. So while this may not be the last well see of these bills, we’ve held Indiana for another day!
On January 17th, we had a similar victory, when Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania announced the state was rescinding an earlier rule that would have forced dairies to stop labeling their milk as rBGH,Free by February 1, 2008. Citing once again the overwhelming consumer opposition to this rule. Even earlier in the month the State of New Jersey announced at a milk hearing that they would not pursue limiting these labels on dairy products.
The bottom line is consumers have a right to know what‚ in their food, and dairies have a right to tell them. Consumers overwhelmingly want more labeling not less, so it‚ unwise for any state or elected official to try to take these labels away. While Ohio is still on the fence, we hope that theyre learning from the trend of consumer milk labeling victories that are sweeping the nation, and until they make a decision, our dedicated consumer activists will continue to keep the pressure on.
You can do your part by contacting your State Governor, and asking them to protect consumers right to know.