Hilde Steffey, Farm Aid Program Director
A few hundred protestors from across the country arrived at the White House last month, the culmination of the two-week GMO Right2Know March that began in New York City on October 1. (Congratulations all you brave marchers - my feet ache just thinking about it!) The demand behind all this foot traffic: that President Obama honors his campaign promise to label genetically engineered (GE) foods (also commonly referred to as GMOs or genetically modified organisms). Despite having opened the proverbial GE floodgates this past year, allowing even more untested and unrestrained GE products into our environment and marketplace, Obama actually campaigned around the idea of mandatory GE labeling. In fact, during his 2007 campaign he said that as president he’d “let folks know when their food is genetically modified because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.”
For decades, behemoth biotech companies like Monsanto have lobbied against labeling products containing their GE crops – including plants modified to live after being sprayed with herbicides and plants which produce pesticides in every one of their cells. Their argument is that these plants are no different than those that didn’t undergo this genetic modification. Considering these plants could never exist naturally and require human manipulation at the molecular level, I’d have to disagree. As do 93% of recently polled Americans, who believe there should be a mandatory label for GE foods. We have a right to know what’s in our food and what we’re feeding our families.
If you weren’t one of the protesters to make the long trek from NYC to DC, the “march” to label GE foods continues. This time the target is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who has both the power and responsibility to require a mandatory label for GE foods. And you don’t have to lace-up your shoes this time around. Instead, click here and join Farm Aid and more than 400 organizations across the country as we call on the FDA to mandate labeling for all GE foods.
This isn’t just about our rights as eaters. Labeling GE foods will help family farmers who don’t plant GE seeds to have a stronger market for selling their goods. We know that mandatory labeling will not fix all that’s wrong with the regulation of genetic engineering, but it’s an important step in restoring our rights as both eaters and farmers.
Still not sure what’s the big deal over genetic engineering in our food supply? Click here to check out Farm Aid’s fact sheet and position on the topic.