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Label GMO's in the Legislature

Written by Charlie Parke on Monday, 09 September 2013. Posted in Arizona, Charter Amendment for I&R, GMO Foods

Arizona legislature to take up GMO labeling in 2014

Label GMO's in the Legislature

Since the mid-1990s people have been eating genetically modified food (GMO’s) in every meal.  With little public awareness of what GMO’s were and no labels to let consumers know what foods contained them GMO’s took over the market for corn, soy, sugar beets, cotton & more.  Health issues from food allergies, autism, leaky gut and many others have increased rapidly since GMO’s were introduced.

Citizens concerned about GMO’s are telling retailers & their governments to make the change. The results have spread across the nation. This year Connecticut  and Maine passed legislation supporting GMO labeling with a requirement that a number of states in the region with a population of 20 million or more join in before the laws take effect. This trigger clause makes it difficult for companies that make a profit off GMO’s to sue an individual state or claim that one state is forcing them to change national policies.  Around the country bills are being pushed by other state legislators, the public favor labeling by 90% or more. A GMO labeling bill has passed the House in the State of Vermont which may be the next state to have a labeling law.

Many large companies are also changing their policies due to increased citizen concerns about genetically modified (GMO) food. One of the first to take on GMO concerns is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream “80% of Ben & Jerry’s ingredients by volume are sourced non-GMO. We commit to sourcing non-GMO ingredients for all our products everywhere by year-end 2013. In fact all our products made in Europe are already non-GMO.” Chipotle Mexican grill has added a statement regarding their ingredients; “Our goal is to eliminate GMOs from Chipotle's ingredients, and we're working hard to meet this challenge. For example, we recently switched our fryers from soybean oil to sunflower oil. Soybean oil is almost always made from genetically modified soybeans. Sunflowers, however, have not yet been genetically modified, thus making sunflower oil a great non-GMO alternative.”

Whole Foods market announced plans in March to label all GMO products and promised progress statements, three months in they issued a statement saying “The response from our producers to our 2018 GMO labeling transparency announcement in March 2013 has been outstanding! Since March, the Non-GMO Project has received more than 900 inquiries from producers and manufacturers to learn how to start the non-GMO verification process. And, as of June 2013, we now have thousands of products within our stores verified as certified organic and/or Non-GMO Project Verified.” Target stores have a simply balanced brand which they state “The majority of Simply Balanced items are made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and Target will eliminate all GMO ingredients from the line by the end of 2014. Target is also setting a goal to increase organic food offerings by 25 percent by end of fiscal year 2017.  More than 200 Simply Balanced products will roll out in U.S. stores in 2013, including snacks, beverages, breakfast items, dairy, baking items, pasta and frozen foods” ipiit a new I-phone app offers a barcode scanner that lets you avoid foods with GMO, gluten, and other ingredients that you may be allergic to.

In Arizona, State Senator Ed Ableser and Representative Juan Mendez plan to introduce legislation to require foods containing GMO’s be labeled in 2014.  Both legislators are from the Tempe area which was home to the March Against Monsanto with over 1000 people in May 2013. Support is building to ask other legislators to help sponsor GMO labeling legislation in Arizona.  Arizonans seem to be concerned about the issue with an increasing number of GMO free verified products on store shelves and GMO free groups hosting movies and lectures to educate the public and build a network of volunteers.

Many Arizonans will be at October March against Monsanto events in Phoenix area and Tucson .  Speaking with a few resulted in some of the following opinions on labeling.  

Trisha Lynn stated “GMO labeling is important to me because I care about what goes in my body and I don't want to have to worry about GMO's hidden in products. GMO labeling should be required on ALL food products, so that we can make informed decisions as to what we buy and eat. Until all food companies are required to label their foods, I look for the Non-GMO Project label, and buy only Certified Organics from trusted companies.”

Nancy Kleinfeld stated in support of labeling “As a cancer survivor, I want to be able to make informed decisions about what I eat. I may make bad decisions but I want them to be mine not Monsanto's.”

Anastacia Andrade stated “yes, we must require it in all states. not just New England and here.”

Blaine Thiederman, stated “There are a variety of things that are dangerous. It's absolutely impossible to eliminate the risk of living with legislation. Freedom and liberty require the ability for people to make poor choices and not educate themselves or educate themselves. It's really up to them. Advocating the government come in with guns and require by law people do things they don't wanna do, isn't freedom at all. No one is forcing consumers to buy a particular product nor is anyone forcing them to not educate themselves.

Now even beyond that, the health of the people in society isn't the business of government. Why not have a company that you can rely on instead that lists the companies that voluntarily choose to list them or not? Like 3rd party certified organic?”

Nate Fredricksen, “I welcome it. It will have adverse affects on what businesses rear their heads, but I suppose that's the point.”

Pat Mayer said “Yes, food containing genetically engineered components should be labeled, just as it must be labeled with certain other allergens, and all the ingredients in descending order. I already do avoid GMOs as much as possible, by buying organic (from trusted sources) and buying local from farmers I can talk with about their methods. I also patronize local restaurants that feature more sustainable ingredients. Labeling will make it easier to know what we are buying at the grocery.”

Stacey Barnett “Yes, it should be labeled. No, I wouldn't buy it. I doubt many other people would buy it either. Then they'd be forced to supply clean food by popular demand. Which is why they'll probably never label it unless they are forced to do so.”

About the Author

Charlie Parke

Charlie Parke

Charlie Parke is a activist and writer from Phoenix AZ. Charlie studied history and political science at the Arizona State University. He usually runs articles in the AZcommunitypress or the Modern Times Magazine.

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