Join the Citizens Voluntary Frankenfoods Labeling Brigade

Join the Citizens Voluntary Frankenfoods Labeling Brigade

** For more information on Brigades,
labels, and legal information, please see:

** If you are interested in acquiring labels
for educational purposes please contact the
neRAGE regional office at 802-454-9957

On March 30th, a group of citizens entered the Shaw's Supermarket in
Montpelier, Vermont and proceeded to label products with stickers that
indicated that the products might contain genetically modified organisms.
From the produce department, to the baby food aisle, from the cereals to
the dairy case, food was labeled by citizens who were taking matters into
their own hands.

The Food and Drug Administration (the organization in the United States
which regulates food labels) has proposed a policy which suggests
corporations "voluntarily" label products that use genetically modified

Not surprisingly, no GE food producer has agreed to label its products, so
consumers still have no way of knowing which foods contain genetically
engineered ingredients. Furthermore, a powerful alliance of corporate food
companies is lobbying the FDA to create stringent guidelines about what
constitutes a food made without GE ingredients.

Using the argument that genetically modified organisms are now so
ubiquitous in the U.S. food market that it's impossible to avoid them, this
lobbying group is working to ensure that an expensive burden of proof is
placed on food processors who want to market non-GMO products. Beyond
making it more difficult to market non-GMO food, this effort lowers access
to non-GMO food for lower income people, forcing food which poses
significant health and environmental dangers on already politically
marginalized populations.

Many groups have been working to solicit public comments to the FDA
regarding the inadequacy of their "voluntary labeling" rules for GE
products. Widespread public opposition to genetically modified foods has
been consistently ignored by the FDA, USDA, and the EPA. Local initiatives
which might have limited the spread of GMO products have been over ruled
and stopped by pro-GMO policy which has been advocated by industry and
government since the advent of GMOs.

The Citizens' Voluntary Labeling Brigade is a community effort to confront
the inaction of regulatory agencies and take power into community hands.
Labeling Brigades have gone where FDA, USDA, and the EPA have refused.

<<< Forming Your Own Brigade >>>
There are many different roles for people to play in a citizen's voluntary
labeling brigade. Some people may choose to distribute literature, provide
music and entertainment, or talk with customers outside the store. Others
may prefer to be inside the store, talking with customers, managers,
distributing postcards, labeling, or participating in a number of other
creative actions. Brigade actions can be organized as group activities or
they can be done on individual initiative.

If you participate in group brigade actions you will most likely come in
contact with the authorities during or after the action. People inside the
store will likely be asked at some point to leave. Store managers may call
the police, who will likely order people to leave. Those who choose not to
leave after receiving a police order maybe subject to arrest and/or forced

At recent regional and national strategy sessions, activists have put out a
call for voluntary labelers to take to the supermarket aisles every
Friday. If you decide to join the fun, be creative and careful!

<<< Talking Points >>>
The following are some suggestions about what to talk about with community
members that you may encounter inside and outside a store during a labeling
action. Keep in mind that talking with people in the store is one of the
best ways to communicate the reasons behind why you believe the
identification of genetically modified foods is important. You may also
want to talk with local or national media to get your message out.

o Any product containing corn (corn meal, corn syrup, corn oil), soy
(soybean oil, soy protein, soy lecithin), canola or cottonseed oil almost
certainly contains genetically engineered ingredients unless it is
certified organic.

o The FDA's proposed rules call for voluntary labeling of genetically
engineered foods. We say that if the FDA calls for voluntary labeling, it
is our responsibility as citizens to voluntarily label genetically
engineered foods.

o Genetically engineered foods pose serious hazards to human health, the
environment, the survival of our small family farms, and our ability to
have real choices about what we eat.

o Last year, over 300 food products were found to be contaminated with a
variety of genetically engineered corn, known as Starlink, that is not
approved for human consumption. An EPA investigation confirmed the finding
that this corn poses a "moderate" risk of severe allergic reactions.

<<< Legal Information >>>
While the FDA has indicated that labeling is voluntary activity, it is
important to recognize that Brigades and Brigade members may come into
contact with police or other State authorities. If you are participating in
a labeling action, please be aware of what is on your person, and how it
may effect your interactions with the authorities and what impacts it might
have on fellow brigade members.

If you are confronted by state authorities
- You have a right to remain silent and not identify yourself - think
about whether or not you will want to identify yourself to authorities if
the situation presents itself. If you choose not to identify yourself,
leave personal identification (driver's license, credit cards, etc.) with
someone trustworthy who's not risking arrest. Be aware that if you choose
not to identify yourself to an officer you may face a greater risk of
- If you are arrested for participating in this action, or if you give
personal identification information to the authorities you could be charged
with a number of offenses. Please consider the ramifications seriously as
you consider how you will respond to different situations during the
- If you choose to be involved with a Brigade action, or start your own
brigade, it is a good idea to consult someone with legal knowledge about
what specific laws may apply to you in your region. Good luck!

For more information on Brigades, labels, and legal information, please see:

| Northeast Resistance Against Genetic Engineering |
| regional office |
| 1118 Maple Hill Road |
| Plainfield, VT 05667 |
| (802) 454-9957 |
| | |

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