Week of Action for GMO Labeling

Each day of the week, starting Tuesday, May 26th (after Memorial Day), supporters will be invited to take action in different and engaging ways. Whether or not you’ve signed petitions, wrote emails or taken action in any way before, this is your chance to join with thousands all at once to send a strong message, together: Let’s label GMOs ASAP. Our collective voice is unstoppable.

 

WOA_announce_MA2015

Monsanto is the largest purveyor of GMO seeds and the biocides that go with them. They are also spending millions to keep us in the dark about what we’re eating. In the week following the March Against Monsanto (details for MA, RI), food activists across Massachusetts and Rhode Island are taking part in a Week of Action for GMO labeling. Right now, both states have the opportunity to stand with Connecticut, Maine and Vermont in a regional push for common sense transparency in food labeling. But only if people like you make their voices heard!

Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island state governments are considering GMO labeling bills which already have a majority of support in each of their legislative bodies.  We need all of our legislators to realize we’ve waited long enough to know what is in our food.  Our opposition is powerful and so far they have succeeded in stalling our bills. They may be powerful but we are bigger and can be louder. It’s time to turn up the volume, and that’s where you come in!

Here’s a preview of the week (click each for more details).

Tuesday, 5/26-  Call your legislators, Call your friends.

Make a phone call or email to thank legislative supporters and/or encourage them to get on board.

Then try to get 3 other people to call (or at least to send an email & sign up for future action alerts).

Wednesday, 5/27- Grow the Network

We are all in this together and there truly is power in numbers. Please visit or call your local farms, businesses, community groups, and organizations and ask them to join the GMO labeling campaign as a Network Partner.

Thursday, 5/28 – Movie Night!

Invite your friends and family (and even your state legislators!) over to watch GMO OMG or Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds (both are available for free or cheap online).  Help grow the food movement one small group at a time.

Friday, 5/29 – DC Day to “STOP THE DARK ACT.”

Our federal government is being pressured by Monsanto and pals to outlaw mandatory GMO labeling altogether. Let’s end the week with a bang and send a loud message to our members of Congress in DC.

 

Of course, people are encouraged to take action in any of these or other ways whenever they want. (We hope this gives you some ideas!) This coordinated week of action will help build momentum for June, an important month for both Massachusetts and Rhode Island before the summer.

Please share this action alert with your networks and be sure you check back at the websites and/or facebook pages for details each day during the Week of Action.

Massachusetts Week of Action page: marighttoknow.org/WOA2015
To sign up for MA advocate newsletter, please visit marighttoknow.org/contact
Facebook for MA: facebook.com/marighttoknowgmos

To sign up for RI advocate newsletter, please visit http://righttoknowri.org/
Facebook for RI: facebook.com/RighttoKnowRI

Thank you for joining with so many others to declare our right to chose what we eat and what we support with our food purchases.

 

3rd Annual March Against Monsanto – Everywhere, May 23rd

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Where will you BEE on May 23? Boston, Nantucket, New Bedford and Northampton join with over 400 cities worldwide for the 3rd annual March Against Monsanto. People everywhere want to reclaim control over their food, and for many, that starts with bringing attention to the largest obstacle to food democracy.

As a chemical giant, Monsanto brought us such wonders as PCBs and Agent Orange and told us there was nothing to worry about… Now, as a “life sciences” company, they are the largest purveyor of GMO seeds (and the chemicals that go with them). They are spending countless millions to corrupt our political process and to keep us in the dark about what we’re eating. It’s time to shed some light.
Join with food justice and sovereignty advocates across Massachusetts at one of 4 family-friendly events:
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Boston: Rally for World Food Justice
“FOOD JUSTICE can only happen with ECONOMIC, RACIAL and CLIMATE JUSTICE! Come help us VISION a new FUTURE for FOOD. Last year more than 1000 gathered in solidarity. This year will feature teach-ins from community leaders, public speakers from across these movements, as well as local community musicians, artists, and vendors.”
March 1-2pm to Copley Square (route TBA)
Rally 2-4pm at Copley Square
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/797217667032767/
Video from MAM Boston 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUzni6gocCU

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Nantucket: March Against Monsanto Education Week
A whole week (5/16-5/23) of educational events for the community!
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1030297793665867/
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New Bedford: March Against Monsanto
A peaceful, family/pet friendly event at Buttonwood Park!
10:30a- 1p at Buttonwood Park
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1635857926648468/
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Northampton: March Against Monsanto
Rally on the steps of City Hall!
11a – 1p
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1405591119764123/
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Special thanks to all the wonderful organizers who are stepping up to make these events happen. This is a truly global movement!
To find the details for hundreds of other events worldwide, please visit:  www.march-against-monsanto.com

‪#‎MAM‬
‪#‎MAMBOSTON‬
‪#‎MAMNB2015‬

And then: A Week of Action for GMO Labeling!

Each day of the week, starting Tuesday, May 26th (after Memorial Day), supporters will be invited to take action in different and engaging ways to support GMO labeling. Whether or not you’ve signed petitions, wrote emails or taken action in any way before, this is your chance to join with thousands all at once to send a strong message, together: Let’s label GMOs ASAP. Our collective voice is unstoppable.

more info at marighttoknow.org/WOA2015

 

MA Coalition for GMO labeling cheers Vermont court decision

VTruling

April 28, 2015
Boston, MA

Today, a coalition of consumer, community, farming and public health organizations working to pass a GMO food labeling law cheered a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Vermont upholding the nation’s first GMO labeling law.

“This is an incredible day for American consumers,” said Martin Dagoberto, of MA Right to Know GMOs. “The court ruled that it’s in the general interest of state governments to require disclosure and labeling of genetically modified ingredients. We couldn’t agree more, and we believe this will be a turning point in the right to know movement.”

“The courts have agreed with our basic message, which is that consumers deserve transparency around something as fundamental as the food they eat and feed their families,” said Deirdre Cummings of MASSPIRG. “Now that the public interest of the right to know has been affirmed, it’s time for Massachusetts to pass its own GMO labeling law and give consumers the opportunity to make informed decisions.”

The ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont found that there is compelling interest to provide consumers the ability to make informed choice based on health, environmental or religious concerns, and struck down an attempt by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to delay implementation of the law. The Vermont law is scheduled to take effect in July 2016.

Of particular interest in the ruling was the argument from Judge Christine Reiss that, “Plaintiffs lose both traction and credibility in their further contention that any State interest in “catering to personal, political, and religious views that reject science is neither legitimate nor governmental” and that, because the State allegedly “has no monetary skin in the game, there is not even a financial interest in the enforcement of [Act 120].” The safety of food products, the protection of the environment, and the accommodation of religious beliefs and practices are all quintessential governmental interests, as is the State’s desire “to promote informed consumer decision-making.”

Foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients are commonly known as GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Vermont passed the nation’s first GMO labeling law in May 2014 and was immediately sued by the Grocery Manufacturers Association. This is the first ruling on GMO labeling by the U.S. court system. Maine and Connecticut have also passed labeling laws, and many other states, including Massachusetts, are considering their own bills.

The Massachusetts bill, H. 3242 - An Act establishing the genetic engineering transparency food and seed labeling act –would ensure that all foods sold in Massachusetts that contain genetically engineered ingredients be clearly labeled. The bill is sponsored by 154 of 200 legislators in Massachusetts, and will hopefully come up for a vote in 2015.

A full list of co-sponsors can be found at http://marighttoknow.org/endorsements.  For more information on the coalition visit http://www.marighttoknow.org or Facebook.

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Corporate “personhood” and GMO Labeling

PMA_hearing

The following was submitted as testimony on behalf of MA Right to Know GMOs, in support of H933 – “Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution to declare that corporations are not people, money is not speech”

More and more people (human beings) are increasingly concerned that through the invented powers of corporate “personhood” and “free speech,” certain financial interests have secured undue influence over our lives. A small number of people and corporate “people” are now able to buy the loudest voices heard in our federal government, including the regulation of food safety and food labeling.

Massachusetts Right to Know GMOs is a statewide network of more than 20,000 parents, farmers and consumer advocates demanding mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food ingredients, a measure supported by more than ¾ of the Massachusetts legislature. However, the world’s largest chemical companies have built a business model which relies on the public (and public health officials) not knowing if/when GMOs are consumed. The chemical companies maintain that it is their constitutional right, as corporations, not to tell us if we’re eating ingredients produced through genetic engineering. According to Reuters, opponents of mandatory GMO labeling spent more than $27 Million lobbying against labeling transparency in the first half of 2014. One can safely assume that significant amounts are being spent to influence regulation in other ways.

Our democratic process has been compromised by the unmitigated infiltration of corporate dollars. The lack of GMO labeling is but one pressing example. We, at MA Right to Know, applaud the leadership of Representative David Rogers, Representative Paul Mark and the other Massachusetts legislators protecting the integrity of our democratic process.

H933, to amend the constitution of Massachusetts, is one important step in the right direction.

Let us, as a Commonwealth, make it clear: “Corporations are not people. Money is not speech.”

For more info about this important campaign, please visit the website of our allies at www.PassMassAmendment.org

GMO Herbicide a “Probable Carcinogen,” WHO says

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently determined that the herbicide most commonly used on GMO crops is a probable human carcinogen.

Herbicide-resistant (GMO) crop technology has led to a 527 million pound increase in herbicide use in the United States between 1996 and 2011.

Subsequently, the EPA has repeatedly increased “tolerable” limits for glyphosate residues in food. The compound has been found in rainwater and human breast milk.

The New York Times Reports:

Health Agency Says Widely Used Herbicide Likely Carcinogenic

Herbicide, glyphosate, is sold by Monsanto under Roundup brand
By JACOB BUNGE
March 20, 2015 5:05 p.m. ET

Glyphosate, a herbicide widely marketed by Monsanto Co. and other companies, likely has the potential to cause cancer in humans, a World Health Organization agency said Friday.

The determination, published by researchers for the International Agency for Research on Cancer in a U.K. medical journal, is likely to fuel further debate over the safety of the heavily used agricultural chemical, which Monsanto sells under the Roundup brand.

Consumer and environmental groups have long warned of health problems that they say could arise from applying the weedkiller on farms, while agricultural companies have touted the product’s safety and environmental impact as preferable to other, harsher chemicals. Officials at Monsanto and agricultural-chemical trade groups contested Friday’s finding, saying decades of research had proved glyphosate’s safety.

Glyphosate is the most-used herbicide in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Farmers have ramped up its use over the past two decades with the advent of genetically modified crops, including corn and soybeans, which can withstand sprayings of the chemical. Herbicide-tolerant biotech plants were grown on 94% of U.S. soybean fields and 89% of U.S. corn fields last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In classifying glyphosate as potentially cancer-causing, the international research agency cited studies of occupational exposure to glyphosate in the U.S., Canada and Sweden, which they wrote showed “increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma” along with a positive trend for some ailments in mice in separate studies. Though the researchers cited “limited evidence” that glyphosate was a carcinogen for humans, they classified it as probably carcinogenic to them, according to the article.

Read the full article, here.

Transparency Tour: Martha’s Vineyard

As part of our ongoing Transparency Tour, we were so grateful to be invited to Martha’s Vineyard this past weekend. Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard hosted a well-attended ”Farmer’s Brunch.” They have helped mobilize thousands of Islanders in support local agriculture and GMO labeling.

Here’s some great local coverage of the brunch, the title of this image: “Slow Food Wants Quick Action on GMO Labeling.”

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41 local farms are part of the Island Grown Initiative, which last year, together with SFMV, presented signatures from over 3000 Islanders in support of GMO labeling to state legislators.We’d like to thank them all for their exemplary efforts toward a more democratic food system! Together, we will label GMOs!
 

Transparency Tour: March 2015

With all of the momentum across the country and the region for commonsense GMO labeling, and with spring on the way (hopefully?) we are eager to hit the road and connect with our supporters and local leaders across the state.

Members of the Mass. Coalition for GMO Labeling are organizing, co-sponsoring and attending a wide array of engaging events over the coming weeks. Please join us at a tour stop near you!

transparencytour

 

If you’d like to join us or if you have suggestions for other event, please contact us.

Please see full event details on our calendar page.

Majority of State Legislators Support GMO Food Labeling

(click here to take action now in support of GMO labeling in Massachusetts)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 5, 2015

Contact
Conor Yunits, 617.695.0369conor@libertysquaregroup.com
Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG, 617-747-4319dcummings@masspirg.org

Majority of State Legislators Support GMO Food Labeling

154 Representatives and Senators Co-sponsor legislation

Boston, MA ­ Today, a coalition of consumer, community, farming and public health organizations working to pass a GMO food labeling law announced that a strong majority of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate have signed on as co-sponsors of GMO food labeling legislation. In total, 154 out of 200 Massachusetts legislators ­ including 125 from the House of Representatives and 29 from the Senate ­ have signed on as co-sponsors to the GMO labeling bill.

Foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients are commonly known as GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The bill, currently known as House Docket 369 - An Act establishing the genetic engineering transparency food and seed labeling act –would ensure that all foods sold in Massachusetts that contain genetically engineered ingredients be clearly labeled.  Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have already passed GMO labeling laws.

“We are extremely lucky to have so many incredible legislators supporting this effort here in Massachusetts,” said Martin Dagoberto, of MA Right to Know GMOs. “The level of support from both the House and Senate, as well as from residents from across the state speaks to the momentum behind passing a GMO labeling bill this session.”

“Over the last two years, we have increased the number of co-sponsors on GMO labeling legislation more than sevenfold,” said Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst). “This issue resonates with everyone because it is a reasonable request about a basic right we all should have: tell us what is in our food. I truly believe that this will be our year to pass this bill.”

“At the end of the day, residents here in Massachusetts deserve transparency around something as fundamental as the food they eat and feed their families,” said Deirdre Cummings of MASSPIRG. “Whether we want to seek out or avoid GMOs, this bill will allow consumers to make more educated and informed choices about the food they purchase.”

“People have the right to know and understand the products that are contained within our food in order to make informed and healthy decisions to meet their dietary needs,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

Legislators are adding their support to this important debate, joining the broad and growing list of supporters for GMO labeling, including consumer, food safety, public health, community, and other organizations. According to a poll conducted by the New York Times, 93 percent of Americans support labeling foods containing genetically engineered ingredients.

“Farmers are getting more and more questions about GMOs — people are really upset about not knowing if they are in their food. We are grateful that so many legislators see the importance of clearly labeling them. That will help our businesses, our customers, and the local farm economy.” — Jack Kittredge, certified organic farmer and policy director, NOFA/Mass (Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.) NOFA/Mass has 1200 members in the Commonwealth and in one of 7 state NOFA chapters in the northeast.

“Support for GMO labeling legislation is growing by the day,” said Representative Todd Smola (R-Palmer). “Massachusetts can be a leading state on GMO labeling if we are willing to take a step in the right direction. This legislation is about promoting public health, but it is also about transparency.”

“Constituents from every community I represent have reached out to me and expressed their support for having GMO products clearly labeled,” said Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “I’m happy to join this growing effort designed to increase the amount of information provided to Massachusetts consumers.”

“This bill, in its simplest form, provides residents in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with information on the foods they are consuming,” said Representative Michael J. Moran (D-Boston). “It is important to know what we are feeding our families.”

“This is an important issue to me.  I strongly believe we have the right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our families,” said Representative Stephen L. DiNatale (D-Fitchburg). “This legislation will simply ensure that Massachusetts consumers are well informed.”

The overwhelming number of co-sponsors is due in part to hard work and commitment from the GMO legislative leadership team from both the House and Senate. The team includes RepresentativesStory (Amherst), Smola (Palmer), M.Moran (Boston), Rushing (Boston), Peake (Provincetown), DiNatale (Fitchburg), Dykema (Holliston), Farley-Bouvier (Pittsfield), Madden (Nantucket), Mannal (Barnstable), Decker (Cambridge), Kocot (Northampton), Keefe (Worcester), Cariddi (North Adams), Boldyga (Southwick), Fox (Boston) and Senators Lovely (Salem), Tarr (Gloucester), Wolf (Harwich), Eldridge (Acton), O’Connor Ives (Newburyport).

A full list of co-sponsors can be found at http://marighttoknow.org/endorsements. For more information on the coalition visit http://www.marighttoknow.org or Facebook.

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GMO labeling bill just introduced in new legislative session: help recruit co-sponsors!

On Jan 13th, 2015, our legislative champions filed a GMO labeling bill (HD. 369) in the Massachusetts legislature for the 2015-16 legislative session.

UPDATE (2/2/15): Deadline for cosponsors extended ’till Tuesday at 5p! (thank you, snow). We’re waiting on confirmation, but it looks like WE WILL HAVE A MAJORITY of cosponsors, BUT there are still a few more we’d really like to get. Are your legislators on board, yet? 

Now we need YOUR help to recruit a majority of lawmakers to co-sponsor the bill before the end of the month. Let’s start the new session with a bang!

New Bill Introduced

In the last legislative session, 2013-14, the Massachusetts GMO labeling bill made it further than it ever had before, and we went from 20 original co-sponsors to 146 legislators who expressed their support by the end of the session. Because of YOU (over 40,000 emails, signatures and comments to legislators), we made GMO labeling a high-profile issue in the State House. Please help us pick up where we left off and make 2015 the year that Massachusetts labels GMOs!

We have bipartisan support in both the house and senate and we’re getting everyone behind one bill. Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst), Representative Todd Smola (R-Palmer), Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) and Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) have stepped up as the chief sponsors of the new GMO labeling bill. The bill has a temporary docket number: H.D.369.

We’re starting with those 4 chief sponsors and we need your help to get to 101 co-sponsors (a majority of the 200 seats) by the January 30th deadline..

 

How to take action:

  1. Find out who your state representative and senator are, here, and copy their email addresses to a new email:  http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

  1. Click here to see if your elected officials have previously indicated their     support for GMO labeling. We will also update this sheet as legislators sign on as co-sponsors.http://bit.ly/1fiooqn

  1. Send your elected officials an email asking them to co-sponsor the GMO labeling bill, H.D.369 (talking points, below) and PLEASE “cc” us at masslabelgmos@gmail.com so that we know who’s getting emails. Please personalize the email, at least a little bit, and be sure to include their name! If they have not yet co-sponsored, ask them to. If they have, thank them!

  1. Be sure to email BOTH your senator and representative (and please cc us at     masslabelgmos@gmail.com).

 

H.D.369 is essentially a refile of the bill that was advanced out of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture during the 2013-14 session. Click here for a 2 page fact-sheet summary of the legislation, and feel free to pass it along to your legislators!

Massachusetts now has the opportunity to join with Connecticut, Maine in Vermont at a regional tipping point toward a national GMO labeling standard. This is an historic moment for food democracy. Thank you for being a part of it!

 

If your Senator and/or Representative IS listed as a GMO labeling supporter in the past, but has not yet signed on as a co-sponsor, you can say something like:

cc: masslabelgmos@gmail.com

Subject: [don't forget to use a subject line!]

Dear Senator/Representative [Name],

[Introduce yourself, briefly.] Thank you for expressing your support for GMO labeling! As your constituent, I’m hoping that you will co-sponsor the GMO labeling bill, H.D.369, introduced by Rep. Story, Rep. Smola, Sen. Lovely and Sen. Tarr. [Say a few words about why GMO labeling is important to you – make it personal!] Massachusetts has the opportunity to join with Connecticut, Maine and Vermont in a regional tipping point toward a national GMO labeling standard. I hope you will help us lead the way.

Sincerely,

[your name, town]

If your Senator and/or Representative is NOT listed as a GMO labeling supporter, you can say something like:

cc: masslabelgmos@gmail.com

Subject: [don't forget to use a subject line!]

Dear Senator/Representative [Name],

[Introduce yourself, briefly.] As your constituent, I’m asking for you to help protect my right to know what I’m eating. Please co-sponsor the GMO labeling bill H.D.369, introduced by Rep. Story, Rep. Smola, Sen. Lovely and Sen. Tarr. [Say a few words about why GMO labeling is important to you – make it personal!] Massachusetts has the opportunity to join with Connecticut, Maine and Vermont in a regional tipping point toward a national GMO labeling standard. We have a right to know and we need to know if we’re purchasing genetically engineered foods.

Sincerely,

[your name, town]

 

If your Senator and/or Representative has already co-sponsored the new GMO labeling bill, they still should hear from you!:

cc: masslabelgmos@gmail.com

Subject: [don't forget to use a subject line!]

Dear Senator/Representative [Name],

[Introduce yourself, briefly.] As your constituent, I’m so happy to hear that you’re co-sponsoring the new GMO labeling bill, H.D.369. [Say a few words about why GMO labeling is important to you – make it personal!] I trust that you will do everything in your power to help Massachusetts join with Connecticut, Maine and Vermont in a regional tipping point toward a national GMO labeling standard. Thank you, again, for standing up for my right to know what I’m eating.

Sincerely,

[your name, town]

Food Fighters from Across the US Rally to Protect States’ Rights

Our friends from PA at the rally to stop the DARK act on Dec. 12, 2014 (waiting on the pic of Mass)

Our friends from PA at the rally to stop the DARK act on Dec. 12, 2014 (waiting on the pic of Mass)

Last Wednesday, dozens of Bay Staters were among nearly 600 farmers, consumers and citizens of all stripes who traveled—many overnight on crowded buses—to Washington D.C. to voice opposition to a federal bill stripping states of their right to pass GMO labeling laws. After the hearing and rally, MARTK organizer Martin Dagoberto met his Congressman’s office, and they offered to help us activate the rest of the Massachusetts delegation to stop the DARK act. We’ll need YOUR help to do that! (stay tuned…)

Read more about the day from our friends at the Organic Consumers Association.  Watch the Hearing and hear the tired talking points of the opposition. The outcomes of these proceedings will affect all Americans.  Please see our previous action alert to voice your concerns: “Americans have a Right to Know when GMOs are in our food. Protect states’ rights and stop the DARK act!”
Note: although H.4432 will not likely go anywhere this session, we can be sure the DARK act will return in a new form in the new Congress. We must remain vigilant!
MA_DARK