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Proposed Legislation Ignores Growing Movement For GMO 'Right To Know'
TexPIRG Builds Local Support to Label GMO Foods
Austin - Last week, large food companies and big agribusinesses announced plans to pre-empt local and statewide citizen movements calling for labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) announced a partnership with 28 agricultural and food industry groups that are lobbying for a federal opt-in labeling scheme that would preempt any state action to require labeling. More than half of the state legislatures across the country are currently considering legislation to require labeling of GMOs in food sold in their state.
“Special interests are working to deny information that consumers overwhelmingly want and have a right to know,” said Sara Smith, Consumer Advocate for TexPIRG. “If the goal is to educate and inform consumers, toothless guidelines that can be adopted by some manufacturers, but not by others, won’t do the job.”
Polls conducted by a number of organizations, such as ABC News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Thomson Reuters and National Public Radio, and Consumer Reports all show more than 90 percent support for GMO labeling. One poll, conducted by The Mellman Group in 2012, shows more than 91 percent of those polled support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, with overwhelming support across party lines. 89 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Independents, and 93 percent of Democrats supported mandatory GMO labels.
“While the science is still out regarding the safety, risks, and environmental and public health impacts of GMO crops, there are reasons consumers are concerned – and the case for transparency is clear,” said Smith.
TexPIRG is currently organizing a citizen movement in Texas, calling on Randalls to label GMO ingredients in their store-brand products. Whole Foods has already pledged to label GMOs in their products by 2018.
“There are a lot of different opinions out there about GMOs. But the public is nearly unified in wanting these ingredients to be labeled," added Smith. “This legislation, proposed by big agribusiness and food interests, flies in the face of what the public wants and has the right to know about the food we are purchasing and eating.”
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