Organic Consumers Association

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Letters: Organic Market Takes a Stand on Food Labeling

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

As a citizen concerned about the health, environmental, ethical and socio-economic hazards of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and industrial-scale factory farms or CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), I am writing to inform your readers about a new consumer campaign calling for Truth-in-Labeling. The campaign, sponsored by the Organic Consumers Association, is calling on conscientious grocers to implement voluntary package or shelf labeling of foods products containing GMOs and/or products coming from large factory farms or CAFOs.

Although "USDA Organic" standards and labels prohibit the use of GMOs or CAFO confinement practices, the overwhelming majority of non-organic foods in grocery stores or supermarkets today fail to reveal whether or not they are likely contain GMOs or come from a factory farm supply chain. Up to 90 percent of U.S. soy, corn, cotton, canola and sugar beets are now genetically engineered and routinely laced into foods with no labels or safety testing whatsoever. And, of course, hapless animals confined in CAFOs are reared on a diet of genetically engineered corn, soy, cottonseed and drugs.

According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Biotechnology Industry Association, approximately 80 percent of current grocery food items contain GMOs; while according to U.S. Department of Agriculture records, the majority of beef, pork, poultry, dairy and eggs now come from CAFOs.

CAFOs breed pathogens, pollute water sources, add tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and systematically abuse and mistreat animals. CAFOs are defined legally by the Environmental Protection Agency as containing 1,000 beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2,500 pigs, or 125,000 broilers or 82,000 laying hens or pullets.

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