Food Safety

Corporate Lobbyists Resort to Deception in Opposing GE Food Labeling, Again

Confused by the exemptions in Washington State’s 522? Here is why they make sense.

Lobbyists for leading pesticide and junk food companies aren’t very creative, at least when it comes to fighting labels on genetically-engineered foods. The current effort Washington State against labeling is looking strikingly similar to last year’s in California. The No on 522 campaign even recycled the colors in their logo. (See No on 522 v. No on 37.) In another illustration of déjà vu, the opposition in Washington State is trotting out the argument that voters should reject the measure because it contains a few exemptions.

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Are Junk Food Corporations Hiding Behind Lobbyists to Stop GE Food Labeling in Washington State?

Yes on 522

Nation’s largest food makers’ trade group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, is donating big money to oppose I-522, but on whose behalf?

Even if you haven’t heard of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, you know its members: the nation’s largest food makers, those with the most at stake in the battle over GE food labeling, including soft drink and snack giant PepsiCo, cereal makers Kellogg and General Mills, and of course, biotech behemoth Monsanto.

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Why Center for Science in the Public Interest is Wrong Not to Support Genetically Engineered Food Labeling

By Michele Simon and Andrew Kimbrell

You may have noticed the impressive grassroots movement gathering steam lately over the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Recently, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to enact a law to require such labels, and 26 other states have introduced similar bills this year. Millions of Americans are demanding more transparency in the food supply and our elected officials are finally responding, after decades of work by groups like Center for Food Safety. But one advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), often seen as a leader in nutrition policy, stands virtually alone in its continued opposition to labeling GE foods. This stance is troubling and confusing given how outspoken CSPI has been for decades on food labeling and consumer information.

Read rest at Center for Food Safety.

How Did a Hepatitis Virus Get into Organic Berries?

It seems hardly a week goes by without another foodborne illness outbreak. This time, in frozen organic berries, proving once again that even the health-conscious are not immune from getting sick. Although you wouldn’t know it from the packaging, the contaminated fruit came from overseas, raising several questions such as: Can we trust the USDA organic seal on imported food? I address this and other issues about our globalized food system in my latest article for Center for Food Safety, which you can read on their site here.

How Grassroots Advocates Beat the Biotech and Food Lobbies

Connecticut Makes History as First State to Pass GE Food Labeling Law

This week, Connecticut won the honor of becoming the first state to pass a law requiring genetically-engineered foods to be labeled. (The governor has indicated he will sign.) It was really only a matter of time. The disappointing defeat of Prop 37 last fall in California (thanks to a massive industry disinformation campaign) sparked a national movement that has resulted in labeling bills getting introduced in about half the states.

But how did the small state of Connecticut make this happen?

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Is Outrage Over the Monsanto Protection Act a Turning Point for the Food Movement?

In March, when I first wrote about how the biotech rider—called the Monsanto Protection Act by its vocal opponents—undercut the constitutional concept of separation of powers, it seemed hardly anyone (other than the usual advocacy groups) was paying attention. But then a lot of people got mad, really mad.

Within a few short weeks the issue exploded in the mainstream media, with the surest sign the issue had hit the big time being (what else?) coverage by The Daily Show (hilariously entitled, “You Stuck What Where?”). Another indication was outrage even from a Tea Party blogger.

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Fighting the Other NRA – Resources to Support Food Workers

This week I’ve been writing about the National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) and why we should care about food workers, in part to bring attention to the new book Behind the Kitchen Door by labor advocate Saru Jayaraman. Today I want to offer practical resources for how to help improve the lives of the 20 million food workers who help us put food on our own tables every day.

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Top 10 Reasons to Care About Food Workers

This week, with the release of Saru Jayaraman’s new book, Behind the Kitchen Door, I’ve been writing about the powerful influence of the National Restaurant Association, for example, in lobbying against paid sick days for workers. Sadly, most of my colleagues in public health and the good food movement don’t pay enough attention to the many injustices workers face every day. So here is my attempt to help correct that situation.

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How the Other NRA is Making Us Sick

 

This week, food labor advocate Saru Jayaraman is releasing her new book, Behind the Kitchen Door, which relates  heartbreaking stories of just some of the 10 million restaurant workers in the U.S. In a chapter called, Serving While Sick, she tells the disturbing tale of a fast-food worker who had no choice but to come to work with a bad cold since she couldn’t afford to go unpaid. When this worker tried to explain to her manager how perhaps handling food while coughing and sneezing was not such a good idea, she was laughed at. She later wondered how many customers she got sick that day because she couldn’t leave the counter every time she needed to wipe her nose.

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Panelist at Natural Products Expo West on March 7

I am pleased to take part in this panel on March 7 and the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim.

GMO Labeling: Where Are We Now?

Washington State, the National FDA Just Label It Effort, and Lessons Learned from Prop 37

Thursday, March 7, 2013, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m, Anaheim Marriott Hotel, Platinum Ballroom 1

After submitting 350,000 signatures, GMO labeling advocates are rallying to support I-522, the People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, in Washington State. I-522, one of a handful of state initiatives calling for GMO labeling, is considered one of the best chances for GMO labeling in 2013.

Learn how you can support this effort, along with lessons learned from California’s Prop 37 and what’s happening on a national level to require labeling of genetically engineered foods, from a panel of speakers and industry leaders deeply involved in these efforts.

Speakers

  • Trudy Bialic, Director of Public Affairs, PCC Natural Markets, I-522 Steering Committee
  • Gary Hirshberg, Chair, Stonyfield Farm and Co-founder, Just Label It
  • Jessica Lundberg, Board of Directors, Lundberg Family Farms
  • David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s
  • Ken Cook, President, Environmental Working Group
  • Michele Simon, JD, MPH, Author, Appetite for Profit, President, Eat Drink Politics

Moderator

  • Steven Hoffman, Managing Director, Compass Natural, and Staff Member, I-522

For information and to contribute, contact Steve Hoffman, on behalf of The People’s Right to Know campaign. steve@compassnatural.com, tel 303.807.1042. As a grassroots political organization, Label It WA depends on you. Visit www.labelitwa.org.

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Contact Michele Simon: michele@eatdrinkpolitics.com

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