Fireworks May Not Pack the Only July 4th Surprise
Americans Don’t Know Whether They’ll Be Serving Genetically Engineered Foods, Says National “Just Label It” Coalition
Washington, D.C. – June 29, 2012 – As millions of Americans prepare for July 4th picnics and barbecues with family and friends, Just Label It, the national coalition for genetically engineered (GE) food labeling, urged Washington to stop keeping our citizens in the dark, and require labeling for GE foods.
“This July 4th and all summer long, American families will gather our children and grandchildren around picnic and dinner tables without knowing about the food they’re serving,” JLI Chairman Gary Hirshberg said. “As we celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s freedom, the stark reality is that American families don’t have the information or the freedom to know about the food they eat, which places the United States far behind 50 other nations.” Countries such as Japan, all of Europe, and China already have GE foods labeling.
As families stock up on hamburgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob, and get set to make traditional potato salad and apple pie, millions of us will unknowingly buy foods made with GE ingredients. Having no GE foods labeling denies us the information we need to make informed purchasing decisions, and it may put people with food allergies at significant risk.
“After my child had an allergic reaction to breakfast, I was shocked to learn that GE foods had been introducing proteins and allergens into the U.S. food supply since 1996, and no human trials had been done. This means all of us, including our children, are guinea pigs for the chemical companies who have engineered these crops to withstand increasing doses of their chemicals. We have the right to know about our food. We need GE foods to be labeled,” said Robyn O’Brien, who founded the AllergyKids Foundation to help protect the 1 in 3 American children with allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism.
O’Brien noted that nearly all of the foods served this Independence Day and at every summer barbecue could be genetically engineered. Corn on the cob could be genetically engineered to withstand pesticides. The butter we put on it, along with our hamburgers and hot dogs, could be made from livestock that have been raised on GE feed. Any products that contain conventional soy and corn (soy lecithin, high fructose corn syrup) are likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients. This means all of our condiments, salad dressings, and hamburger and hot dog buns could be genetically modified.
“The right to know is a core American value, and part of the building blocks of our democracy. While the science on the health implications of GE foods is inconclusive, it’s time for government to respond to the will of the people and mandate GE food labeling, so we all have the freedom to decide and choose what our families eat,” concluded Hirshberg.
About Just Label It
JUST LABEL IT (JLI) is a national coalition of more than 540 diverse organizations dedicated to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as genetically modified, or GMOs. The Just Label It message is simple: consumers have a right to know about our food so we can make informed choices about what we eat and feed our families. For updated information, visit the Just Label It website, (www.justlabelit.org)
What is a GMO?
“Genetically engineered foods,” “genetically modified organisms,” or “GMOs,” are organisms that have been created through application of transgenic, gene-splicing techniques that are part of biotechnology. This relatively new science allows DNA (genetic material) from one species to be transferred into another species, creating transgenic organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even viral gene pools. The mixing of genes from different species that have never shared genes in the past is what makes GMOs and GE crops so unique. It is impossible to create such transgenic organisms through traditional crossbreeding methods.