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Posted: April 30th, 2013 | Filed under: Incident Reports | Tags: asthma, autism, cancer, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Commissioner, diabetes, FDA, gmo, GMO Labeling, just label it, letter, Margaret Hamburg, Meeting, Response, Safety Studies, stone soup |
Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993
April 29, 2013
Dear Commissioner Hamburg,
We sincerely appreciated the response from your secretary on April 4, concerning your inability to attend our demonstration outside the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition that took place on Monday, April 8. The demonstration was successful and generated numerous newspaper articles across the country.
We write today to request a meeting with you concerning the labeling of genetically engineered foods in America. We are aware that representatives from the FDA have attended similar meetings with representatives from the chemical and processed food industries, and we deserve the opportunity to meet and discuss our concerns. We are willing to accommodate your busy schedule and can meet on the date and time of your choosing in May, June, or July. Upon confirmation from your office, we intend to invite business leaders in the organic food industry who share our concerns related to labeling of genetically engineered foods.
As you know, last year there were over one million signatures submitted to your agency asking you to require mandatory labels for foods produced using modern genetic engineering techniques. However, we still have not received a thorough reply from the FDA regarding this petition. We have reviewed the statements on the FDA website, and have concluded that instituting mandatory labels for genetically engineered foods is currently within your power and that such implementing such a policy does not require Congressional action.
Your failure to allay the concerns of American consumers and respond to the petition has resulted in growing distrust of your agency. We interpret the FDA’s resolve to ignore the people’s overwhelming support of mandatory GMO labeling as demonstrative of your true priority: protecting corporate interests, rather than protecting consumers’ safety and our fundamental right to transparency in food labeling. If the FDA is to regain the trust of American consumers you must demonstrate real action and commitment to introducing GMO labeling policy. Our proposed meeting is the crucial first step in beginning that process.
Consumers want the FDA to reject the purported authority of arbitrary biotechnology corporations as providers of safety studies. We demand independent tests conducted by the FDA or respected researchers at universities. Moreover, consumers are concerned that the existing body of safety studies are woefully incomplete and do not reflect the data recorded over the entire lifespan of animals fed genetically engineered foods.
The biotechnology industry says that there have been over 3 trillion meals served using genetically engineered ingredients without any health issues. We believe this statement is misleading; it is impossible to trace any health effects due to the consumption of genetically engineered foods when there are no mandatory labels on genetically engineered foods. Conversely, since genetically engineered foods entered the American food supply in the late 1990s, there has been a noticeable increase in diabetes, asthma, autism, cancer, and stomach maladies in America. Some concerned consumers believe this unfortunate increase is the direct result of consuming genetically engineered foods. This anecdotal evidence is not based on science. However, unless consumers are given the opportunity to choose between foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients and those that don’t, the anecdotal evidence will continue to yield further speculation on the dangers of consuming genetically engineered foods.
We look forward to hearing from you.
GMO Policy Analyst
Posted: April 9th, 2013 | Filed under: Press | Tags: America, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, Dana Milbank, Demonstration, eat-in, Fable, facebook, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, Kids, Maryland, MD, Michael Taylor, Mom, Monsanto, Occupy Wall Street, Photos, Picnic, Pot, Protest, stone soup, syndicated, Tom Llewellyn |
by Dana Milbank, Washington Post
When authorities got wind of a demonstration planned for Monday outside the Food and Drug Administration’s offices in College Park, they fortified their defenses.
A motorcycle and nine police vans, ominously marked “Homeland Security,” parked in front of the FDA building, and uniformed officers fanned out across the entrance, where they waited.
They needn’t have. The demonstrators, demanding that the FDA require the labeling of genetically modified foods, hadn’t come with violence in mind, or even civil disobedience. They had come to cook a 50-gallon vat of soup on the sidewalk and then consume the stuff — a first-ever “eat-in” at the FDA, they said.
There were no foul-mouthed anarchists dressed in black — just the sort of well-heeled crowd you’d come across at Whole Foods. “I packed up my kids’ lunches and drove from Boston to Hartford to ride a bus for five hours,” Kristi Marsh told the crowd, using the sound system to recount her trip to Monday’s protest. She wore a chef’s hat hand-lettered with the words “Everyday Mom.”
“I’ve never, ever protested before,” Marsh told me after her speech. “I was nervous. I had these visions of overturned buses and policemen dressed up like storm troopers. But when I saw part of the labor was to commit to no alcohol, no drugs, no violence, then I thought, ‘I want to be present.’ ”
She reached into her handbag. “Want some sunscreen?” she asked.
This is the face of the new protest movement — or at least organizers hope to make it so.
“We wanted a comfortable event,” Tom Llewellyn, the 30-year-old organizer, said of the FDA action, billed as “a day of sunshine and picnic-style protest” against GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. “It’s all about who you’re appealing to. There has to be a face of the movement for every single demographic to connect with.”
Taking a page from the gay-rights playbook, other causes on the left are holding fewer of the disruptive protests of recent decades and opting for persuasion over confrontation. In part, this strategy reflects the failure of recent movements, such as Occupy Wall Street and the anti-globalization demonstrations, to turn protesters’ enthusiasm into enduring public support.
The campaign against GMOs is typical: The movement has dropped its demand that such altered foods be banned, instead embracing the more reasonable goal of labeling such foods accurately. And activists are looking for non-threatening ways to broaden the cause’s appeal.
Llewellyn based Monday’s event on “Stone Soup,” a European folk tale about a traveler who persuades villagers to contribute to a communal meal. He borrowed the idea from peace activists of decades past, but made his a GMO-free soup.
“I’ve come here with this magical soup stone,” he told the crowd of 60, which swelled through the morning as the soup boiled.
The demonstrators, some wearing aprons, chef’s hats or clothing with GMO themes (“Give Peas a Chance”), handed over their organic vegetables and told their stories to the TV crews and reporters who had come to witness the spectacle:
“Hi, I’m Tory and this is my grandmother Nettie. We brought carrots . . . ”
Peter, a 12-year-old from Pennsylvania, announced: “I came here today with just organic mushrooms.” His mom patted him on the back after his turn at the microphone.
Another woman said, “My name is Erin O’Maley. I’m a chiropractor. . . . I brought some zucchini.”
A woman from Atlanta, Jay, was one of several to call for the resignation of Michael Taylor, the deputy FDA commissioner who had worked at Monsanto, a major GMO producer. “I’m a mother of an 8-year-old child and she’s not a science experiment,” the woman said.
Not all of the demonstrators were of the sort that would help the movement broaden its appeal. One man, in fatigues and a T-shirt covered with handwritten slogans, said he had brought “a non-edible mushroom” and complained that “my soup kitchen serves food that sucks.”
But the organizers found their target audience in Marsh of Massachusetts. Marsh, who writes tips on healthful living, said the image of the typical protest, angry and defiant, “scares people away.”
But as the soup simmered Monday, she told her fellow demonstrators that she would convert other mothers — “everyday me’s,” she called them — to the cause. “As long as you are out there doing this kind of stuff, I will be out there,” she said. “And I will be educating the everyday me’s, because that’s the masses that you need your support from.”
Source: Washington Post
This article was syndicated in the Salt Lake City Tribune, The Oregonian, The Herald, The Orland Sentinel, West Hawaii Today, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Shreveport Times, Delmarva Now, The Herald Tribune, AZ Central, and Faribault Daily News.
Posted: April 8th, 2013 | Filed under: Press, Video | Tags: America, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, Demonstration, eat-in, Fable, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, Kathy Engle-Dulac, Martin Dagoberto, Maryland, MD, Michael Taylor, Monsanto, Picnic, Pot, Protest, Segment, stone soup |
Looking for more labels on the food we eat, Monday morning dozens gathered outside the Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety.
Kathy Engle-Dulac says genetically modified foods, or GMO’s, raise the biggest concerns.
If a food product has been genetically engineered, she believes consumers have the right to know.
Like others gathered Monday, she’s asking the FDA to change their policies so when consumers walk into a grocery store they know what they’re buying.
In a statement the Food and Drug Administration said: “Currently, food manufacturers may indicate through voluntary labeling whether foods have or have not been developed through genetic engineering provided such labeling is truthful and not misleading. In general, foods derived from genetically engineered plants must meet the same requirements, including safety requirements as other foods…”
Organic farmer Martin Dagoberto says he’s not sure if they’re as safe. He’s worried if there’s more GMO’s, it could affect his farming process.
“It’s basically jeopardizing the organic integrity of our food supply of our seeds and its making organic farming almost impossible,” Dagoberto says.