As you may know by now, Congress passed legislation (S.764) that wipes out Vermont’s excellent GMO labeling law and substitutes a fake national GMO labeling regime. President Obama signed the bill into law Friday, July 29th. This sham labeling bill:
1. Excludes most processed foods from requiring a label;
2. Defines genetic engineering so narrowly, that most GMOs on the market don’t qualify; and
3. Gives the USDA two years to come up with additional criteria for labeling, which will likely contain even more loopholes.
For products that will require labeling, companies can avoid actually stating on the package that it contains GMOs. Rather, they can force consumers to go on a wild goose chase by calling a listed 800 number to find the answer, or using their smart phones—if they have one—to scan a QR code and then navigate a website.
And to make this law even more irrelevant, if companies decide to ignore the labeling requirements altogether, there is no enforcement or penalty.
Although this is clearly a defeat in our campaigns for getting mandatory labeling in the United States, we are still winning the bigger, more important effort to ELIMINATE GMOs from the market altogether.
Mandatory Labels are not Required for Victory
Labeling GMOs was never the end goal for us. It was a tactic. Labels make it easier for shoppers to make healthier non-GMO choices. When enough people avoid GMOs, food companies rush to eliminate them. Labeling can speed up that tipping point—but only if consumers are motivated to use labels to avoid GMOs.
Therefore, if mandatory labels had been put into place, we would still be required to educate and motivate consumers.
The good news is that the tipping point is already underway based on the voluntary non-GMO labels being put on packages. Major food companies already realize that making non-GMO claims gives them a competitive edge. Why else would Nestles dedicate time during their extremely expensive TV commercials to brag that their coffee creamer is non-GMO? Why else would Dannon announce that their feed for dairy cows will be non-GMO within three years? And why else would Del Monte, Campbell’s, Hershey’s, Post, General Mills, Red Gold, Applegate, and so many others make similar non-GMO commitments? They are scrambling to get the non-GMO sales advantage before their competitors. The flood gates are opening. We are totally winning. Let that sink in.
Behavior-Change Messaging is the Key Success Factor
This major shift in the marketplace has come about due to compelling, behavior-change messaging. And that’s IRT’s specialty. It involves:
1. Accurately conveying the health dangers of GMOs in compelling ways, and
2. Exposing the lies, cover-ups, and outrageous behavior of the pro-GMO forces.
IRT participated in labeling campaigns around the country using these potent behavior-change messages.
We think it was an unfortunate decision by several of the state and national labeling groups to focus almost exclusively on the “Right to Know” message, which, by itself, doesn’t motivate healthier non-GMO choices. In fact, the vast majority of the money raised for labeling was used to support the Right to Know platform.
If there is a silver lining to the recent defeat of mandatory labeling, it is that our movement can now put our collective attention back on the key success factor—tell people the truth about GMOs and how they can protect themselves and their families from the dangers.
We’d like to thank and celebrate the thousands of GMO labeling campaigners and supporters who have worked so hard for these years. Our collective efforts alerted tens of millions of people that GMOs were indeed in the food supply and we created a national conversation about the topic.
Our ultimate goal, to eliminate GMOs, is happening more and more with each non-GMO announcement. Now let’s focus our attention on getting the word out in the most effective manner, and achieve final victory. Safe eating, Jeffrey
The mandatory labeling movement has achieved unimaginable success in raising awareness about the GMO issue. In the past few years, national media attention and the corresponding public understanding inspired by state labeling efforts have brought a once obscure term—GMO—into the spotlight. When we started the Non-GMO Project 10 years ago, it always took me a few minutes to explain what I did, because only rarely had my audience ever heard of genetic engineering. Fast forward to a 2014 Consumer Reports survey in which 72% of Americans say it’s important to them to avoid GMOs when they shop. Knowledge is power, and this public awakening is shifting the scales in a way that can’t be undone, even by this horrendous bill. Our elected officials have utterly failed to represent the will of the people this time around, but they can’t stop the deep sincerity with which Americans are now pursuing information and choices when it comes to GMOs.
This brings us to our next ray of light, and it’s a big one. We all vote with our wallets every time we shop, and collectively we DO have the power to change the way our food is grown and made. This is the premise that the Non-GMO Project was founded on a decade ago, and it is indeed proving to be powerful. As the availability of non-GMO food choices skyrockets, GMO crops are on the decline for the first time since their introduction.
Illegal GMO Wheat Discovery in Washington State Causes Global Export Panic
This is the third discovery of genetically engineered wheat in the U.S. in recent years. In the spring of 2013, a farmer in Eastern Oregon found glyphosate-resistant wheat in one of his fields. An APHIS investigation was unable to pinpoint the source of the wheat.
Councils Band Together to Create Official GM Free Zones
Outdoor use of GMOs is roundly opposed by a growing number of councils, communities, mana whenua, primary producer boards and other big agricultural players such as Beef and Lamb, Horticulture New Zealand, Dairy NZ, Zespri and Fonterra. This is not surprising given the potential serious risks involved, including transgenic pollution, loss of key markets, and loss of premiums for existing non GM primary producers
We know that this so call labeling law is a farce and a direct attempt to destroy democracy. We know that many of our Senators and Congress members are lying to the American public and to our president.
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Health Canada Moves to Limit Exposure to Boric Acid Pesticides - (Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2016)
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced this week it will cancel certain formulations of boric acid-based pesticides. The announcement reflects the latest science showing that certain products, such as those in dust formulations or open baits, put residents at inhalation and ingestion exposure risk, respectively, to the naturally occurring element boron and borate compounds. PRMA’s decision is part of the Health Canada’s registration review of boric acid, which, like that of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is conducted every 15 years.
Oregon Prohibits 14 Horticultural Products Used in Marijuana Production, Not Labeled as Containing Pesticides - (Beyond Pesticides July 25, 2016)
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) last week issued 12 notices of statewide detainment and stop sale and removal orders for horticultural pesticide products that contain active ingredients not listed on the label. The orders call for the product manufacturers to immediately cease all sales, offers of sale, or other distribution in Oregon. This is the latest effort by a state with a legalized marijuana market to try to curb the use of illegal pesticides in cannabis production, a practice that poses potential health threats to consumers, creating a regulatory challenge for state officials in states that have legal marijuana for medicinal and or recreational purposes. Because the U.S. government classifies cannabis as a narcotic, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) does not register pesticide products for use in its production, leaving consumers exposed to hazardous pesticides through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption without any evaluation of potential health effects.
“We have chosen to focus on land trusts because we believe that it is critically important for farmers to own the land they’re farming on or have the ability to build equity on that land if they want to grow and maintain a viable farm business,” she explains.
Insecticide Can Cut Bee Sperm by Nearly 40 Percent, Study Finds
A new study of male honeybees shows that two insecticides, banned in some European nations but still used in the United States, can significantly reduce the bees’ ability to reproduce.
The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the leading biological research journal of the Royal Society, found that thiamethoxam and clothianidin, two chemicals from the neonicotinoid family of insecticides, reduce living sperm in male honeybees, called drones, by almost 40 percent.
"So, not only are surgeons removing these organs unnecessarily, but also in their nutritional ignorance they are telling patients that their gallbladders do not serve any purpose and they can live perfectly well without them.