Campaign to label GE foods: Volunteers needed

Sound Consumer | September 2003

(September 2003) — Starting in mid-October, during National Co-op Month, PCC will renew its support for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

If you would like to help as a volunteer in our upcoming campaign, please call PCC Community Relations at 206-547-1222 or e-mail: to sign up.

PCC ran its first GE labeling campaign in 2000 when U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced labeling legislation. PCC collected more than 12,000 letters from members in just two weeks and sent them to our elected Washington State representatives.

Now, Kucinich has introduced six bills in the House of Representatives to provide a comprehensive regulatory framework. Most notable is the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, which would require genetically engineered foods to be labeled. Another Kucinich bill would place a permanent moratorium on crops engineered to produce pharmaceuticals or industrial agents.

Yet other bills would require FDA to screen all GE foods through the food additive review process, to phase out antibiotic resistance markers, prohibit "terminator" (sterile seed) technology, and would make biotech companies liable for negative impacts of their GE organisms. Farmers would be indemnified as a protective measure.

So far, in Washington State, Representative Jay Inslee has endorsed these bills. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that at least 50 percent of the U.S. export wheat market could be lost if GE wheat is introduced because importing countries do not want it. In Washington State, 85 percent of the state's exported wheat goes to Japan and Korea and other Asian markets that refuse to accept any GE food products.

An ABC newspoll this summer confirmed that 92 percent of Americans want mandatory labels on GE foods. An ABC newspoll conducted in 2001 indicated 93 percent wanted mandatory labels.

PCC's campaign will focus on supporting the legislative drive for mandatory labels. Volunteers will be required, as during our 2000 campaign, to attend a training session.

To learn more about these bills, visit The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods' Web site at www.thecampaign.org. You also can find the campaign's literature in PCC stores at the information centers.

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