Just Label It! campaign kicks off
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We all have a right to know whether the food we are eating has been genetically engineered.
That’s the principle driving a new campaign that kicked off last month called “Just Label It!: We Have the Right to Know.” Friends of the Earth is part of the Just Label It! coalition, along with more than 300 environmental, consumer, health, faith-based, farmer and other organizations.
Our shared goal is to get the Food and Drug Administration to implement a mandatory labeling policy for all genetically engineered foods, a policy that 93 percent of Americans support, according to a recent study. While the reasons for wanting to know what’s in our food may vary, what unifies this campaign is the belief that it’s our right to know. Without labeling of genetically engineered foods, we cannot make informed choices about the food we eat.
Friends of the Earth was one of the first environmental organizations to raise concerns about genetically engineered crops in the 1970s. Since then, we have been actively working to protect people and the environment from the risks genetic engineering poses. Most recently, we have been actively campaigning for the DA to conduct proper environmental and public health risk assessments before deciding whether or not to approve genetically engineered salmon — the first genetically engineered animal ever considered for human consumption — and to require labeling if the so-called “frankenfish” is approved.
A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Human health effects can include higher risks of toxicity, allergies, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer. As for environmental impacts, the use of genetic engineering in agriculture has led to uncontrolled cross-contamination of genes from genetically engineered crops with naturally occurring plants, a type of pollution that threatens numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction. A dramatic increase in pesticides released into our environment and the creation of an epidemic of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” are also serious impacts.
We should have access to food that is not only good for our bodies but also our environment. It’s our right. Labeling helps ensure that we have the ability and power to buy good food, not genetically engineered food.
Our friends at the Center for Food Safety submitted a legal petition to the FDA in September 2011 calling for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. The FDA must consider official comments from the public when making a final ruling.
To learn more about the risks genetically engineered foods pose to the environment, our health and a just food system, and about why we believe genetically engineered foods must be labeled, please visit the Just Label It! Campaign website.