Field Notes from the Campaign to Label GE Foods
By Anna Ghosh
We all deserve the right to know what’s in our food and to decide for ourselves whether or not to buy and eat it. Concerned citizens have been fighting for protections to make sure their food was healthy for centuries and the fight for transparent food labels has been a major part of that effort.
Food & Water Watch has been fighting – and winning – campaigns to defend consumers’ right to know what’s in their food since our inception in 2005. As a result of our campaign, Starbucks committed to make its stores rBGH-free in 2007, and in 2008, we successfully fought in nine states to keep rBGH-Free labels on dairy products. In 2009 we won a campaign to get the federal school lunch program to specifically allow schools to use federal dollars to choose rBGH-Free milk for their students.
Since 2010, we’ve collected more than 150,000 signatures opposing the FDA’s approval on AquaBounty’s GE salmon, and in 2011 and 2012, along with our allies Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Sum of Us, Corporate Accountability International and CREDO Action, we collected more than half a million signatures from consumers refusing to purchase GE sweet corn and asking Walmart not to sell the biotech corn. We’ve also been involved in collecting and submitting official comments to oppose the approval of every new GE crop that has been considered since we started in 2005.
During the effort to pass landmark food safety legislation we helped ensure that the law gave small farms and local food processors options other than regulations designed for large corporations. We defended consumers’ right to know through the adoption of mandatory country of origin labeling and ensured that technologies like food irradiation continue to be labeled.
Now the battle is over the labeling of genetically engineered food. Despite the narrow defeat of Prop 37 in California, momentum around GE food labels has never been stronger. Food & Water Watch is on the ground in over 15 states, joining with national, regional, and local allies to make GE food labels the law once and for all. Here are our field notes from the campaign. Make sure to check back regularly for updates and, if you’re involved in fighting for GE food labeling where you live, leave a comment to offer your own update as well. And, don’t forget to sign the petition to ask your elected officials to require labeling for all genetically engineered foods.
Field notes from: