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Organic Consumers Association

OCA Responds to FDA's Proposed New Food Labeling Rules that Ignore the GMO Elephant in the Room

  • FDA and Michelle Obama announce overhaul of food labels, with no mention of labeling GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
    Organic Consumers Association, March 21, 2014

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 20, 2014

CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association, Katherine Paul, katherine@organicconsumers.org, 207.653.3090

Finland, Minn.
-- On February 27, First Lady Michelle Obama launched a media blitz to tout the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed new rules for nutrition labels on packaged foods.

Both the FDA and Mrs. Obama trumpeted the changes, the first in 20 years and 10 years in the making, as being  designed to help consumers "make healthy food choices for their kids."

Conspicuously absent from the media hype was any mention of the one label that consumers have been crystal clear about wanting, the label that consumers in nearly 60 other countries have but Americans don't-a label that states whether or not a product contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

"For the past several years, with the support of millions of U.S. consumers, the OCA and our allies have fought for consumers' right to know if their food has been genetically engineered," said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association."

"Consumers have launched citizen ballot initiatives, in California and Washington State, to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws. They've sent hundreds of thousands of signatures to the FDA and to key Obama administration officials, including Mrs. Obama. Close to 30 states have launched GMO labeling bills. But instead of responding to consumers' legitimate concerns about the safety of GMO foods, and the impact of GMO crops on the environment, the FDA is revamping food labels without any mention of labeling GMOs," Cummins said.

In 2007, on the campaign trail in Iowa, then-Senator Barack Obama told supporters, "We'll let folks know if their food has been genetically modified, because Americans should know what they're buying." He has not honored that campaign promise. In 2012, during the high-profile California Proposition 37 campaign, a citizens' initiative that would have required mandatory labeling of GMOs in foods, nearly 208,000 people signed a MoveOn.org petition to Michelle Obama asking her to remind President Obama of his campaign promise, and to support GMO labeling. Mrs. Obama did not respond. "Changes to nutrition labels are long overdue, and it's great that Mrs. Obama is leading the charge to force food manufacturers to provide more accurate information about their products," Cummins said. "But if Mrs. Obama is truly concerned about truth and transparency in labeling, if she really wants to have an impact on the health of our children, she will stand up for consumers, and against industry lobbyists, by insisting that President Obama live up to his campaign promise to label GMOs."

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization advocating on behalf of more than one million consumers for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

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