GMO labeling advocates cheer Campbell Soup decision to support mandatory labeling of GMO products and withdraw from coalitions that oppose labeling

Campbell rebukes Grocery Manufacturers Association

campbellsTY

Boston, MA ­– GMO Labeling advocates cheered Campbell Soup’s decision to support mandatory labeling laws and withdraw from coalitions that are opposing them. Campbell Soup is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which has fiercely opposed mandatory GMO labeling efforts across the country, and Campbell’s withdrawal will mark the industry’s changing tide.

According to official documents, as analyzed by the Environmental Working Group, the food and biotech industries have spent $143 million in lobbying expenditures that mentioned GMO labeling since 2013. As major food companies begin to change gears to respond to consumer demand for this information, Campbell has decided to label all of their products containing genetically engineered ingredients by 2018 and is calling on the government to require mandatory labeling.

“Food manufacturers are sick of wasting money for the sake of the big GMO pushers like Monsanto. Fighting transparency is a lost cause.” said Martin Dagoberto of MA Right to Know GMOs. “The People have demonstrated that they want to know what they’re eating,” Dagoberto continued, “and while we applaud Campbell’s move to label voluntarily, they are the first to do so in nearly 20 years. We need mandatory labeling so that anyone can pick up any food product and know if it contains genetically engineered ingredients.”

The Massachusetts Coalition for GMO Labeling also reiterated its call for passage of state legislation to require labeling.

“It’s great that Campbell is calling on the federal government to require mandatory labeling,” said Deirdre Cummings, legislative director of MassPIRG. “However, we know that change like this usually begins with the states, and strong state action is the best way to protect consumers and to set the bar for labeling. Mandatory labeling legislation in Massachusetts has 155 co-sponsors, and its time to pass this bill.”

Last fall, the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture held a public hearing for H. 3242An Act establishing the genetic engineering transparency food and seed labeling act.The high turnout was in line with the high level of support within the State House; the legislation has 155 cosponsors and more than 400 coalition partners supporting GMO labeling across the Commonwealth. Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut have all passed their own GMO labeling laws. The legislation has not yet been released from committee, and the Massachusetts Coalition for GMO Labeling today again urged the committee chairs to release the bill.

The bipartisan legislative effort in Massachusetts has been led by Representatives Ellen Story (D- Amherst) and Todd Smola (R-Palmer), and on the Senate side by Senators Joan Lovely (D-Salem) and Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “This is about giving people in Massachusetts good information so they can make a decision themselves. Now is the time,” said Smola in a recent social media post.

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 www.facebook.com/MARightToKnowGMOs/.

###

Take action now to keep the MA GMO labeling bill moving!

Statewide GMO labeling summit – Saturday, January 16th, 2016

Thanks to your involvement, our campaign to label GMOs in Massachusetts is about to reach a climax. We have until July to get our state GMO labeling bill (H.3242) passed, so we figured this would be a good time to meet in-person to discuss how we can work together to make GMO labeling a reality.

Please join our campaign organizers, local leaders and coalition partners at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (Mass. Chapter) Winter Conference in Worcester on January 16th for a special GMO labeling summit.

  • Meet face to face to learn the latest updates and ways to get involved with the GMO labeling campaign.

  • Attend the full conference to learn about the incredible work of the NOFA network!

NOFAwc2016_fb
GMO Labeling Summit at NOFA/Mass Winter Conference

Saturday, January 16th, 1:30 PM – 3:30 pm (Optional lunch conversation at 12:15 pm, with full conference starts at 9 am – highly recommended)

Worcester State University

Full Conference page: nofamass.org/events/wc

Share the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1077145465631015/

 

The all-day conference features 70 workshops and exhibitors; an all-day seminar and keynote speeches with Ben Burkett, family farmer and coordinator of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives; children’s conference and more.  This conference is a high-energy, solutions-oriented annual gathering, a fantastic chance to gain some new gardening/farming skills, connect with other food activists and farmers and to get excited about the coming growing season!

 

We are proud to deepen our ongoing partnership with NOFA/Mass by co-hosting our GMO Labeling summit during the afternoon of the conference.

 

To apply group membership rates, use this discount code GMO and register as a NOFA/Mass member (our activists are considered members for this registration). Registration price includes a fantastic organic buffet lunch. Please don’t let lack of funds stop you from coming, as scholarships are available.  We will start the conversation during lunch, but if people only want to come for the actual meeting at 1:30pm and not the conference, please contact Marty by January 1st to confirm (marty@marighttoknow.org).  We can also work with you to arrange ride-shares; find conference carpool shares here: http://bit.ly/1OUjmBs

See you in January!

Final hour for GMO labeling? Take action now!

Please use the below action page to send a quick message to your Federal AND Massachusetts legislators (if you live here). We are confident that our federal delegation is with us on this, but they still need our encouragement. We really need to get more emails to our state legislators so that our Massachusetts GMO labeling bill gets moving in the new year. Please consider picking up a phone and calling your state representative and senator (number will appear after you enter your address).

Note: this action page works for anyone in the U.S. It will send the message to their own Senators and Representative. Please share far and wide!

Call your U.S. Senators to Stop the DARK Act!

dark_cfgl

The Massachusetts GMO labeling bill has the support of over 75% of the legislature and we had a wildly successful public hearing a couple weeks ago. But the federal DARK Act would render our efforts obsolete, because it would prohibit states like ours from requiring mandatory GMO labeling.

Please take action now to take back our food supply and our democracy. Call both of your senators with the below phone number and ask your friends and family across the country to do the same!

Massachusetts Senators Markey and Warren have already come out against the DARK Act. But we need them to be loud and vocal opponents and to talk to their peers who are not yet on the right side of this issue.

No matter where you live in the U.S. please call this number to be connected to your Senators. 

Call 877-762-8762 to be connected to both Senators!

You can say something like:

“As your constituent, I’m counting on your leadership to stop the DARK Act., H.1599, which is heading to the Senate. Please come out in strong opposition and please talk to your Senate colleagues on the floor. Let them know this is NOT the GMO labeling bill we’re asking for!”

 

On October 21st the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the DARK Act and our voices will not be heard, so be sure they hear you NOW.

We deserve and need to know if GMOs are in the food we are feeding ourselves and our families. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA, which represents Monsanto and others) is fighting harder than ever because they know the truth will not remain hidden, we are winning. Our opponents are afraid to label GMOs; they are afraid of US, because we have truth and transparency on our side.

Call your Senators TODAY and ask them to stand with the people of this country in strong opposition to the DARK Act, HR 1599.

For more info on the DARK Act and to send a personalized email to both Senators, please visit out action page at marighttoknow.org/StopDark

Click here for PDF of a DARK Action flier that you can distribute at local events!

Non-GMO Month: Calendar of Events

nongmomonthOctober is Non-GMO Month, and we have a full calendar of events across the state: marighttoknow.org/calendar

Bite by bite, we’re taking back our food, our government and our lives! The movement for GMO labeling is hitting a critical Mass…, and people across the country are learning how to regain control over what they feed their families.

We are happy to announce an incredible line-up of non-GMO events across Massachusetts this month. Some are organized by us, some by our friends and Network Partners. The list is likely to grow and if we’ve missed any, let us know!

Public Hearing a HUGE Success!

(See some great media coverage here and here.)

We want to express a heartfelt thanks to all those who attended Tuesday’s hearing on H.3242, to the 300+ who submitted written testimony and to the many who provided compelling testimony in person. We also want to thank all the volunteers who made the press conference possible and who worked to gather contact information from GMO labeling supporters and to distribute packets of postcards and other information to indicate their support for the bill to their own legislators.

The broad majority of those in attendance were GMO labeling supporters, as clearly indicated by their bright green “Label GMOs” stickers. Committee Vice Chair, Rep. Brian Mannal astutely noted this evidence that labeling does, in fact, work!

Only three people testified against our mandatory GMO labeling bill. One younger man with a British accent spoke so quickly that his comments were incoherent. The second person was a representative of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the third was a representative of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). These last two repeated many of the all-to-common GMO industry myths that we all know: GMOs are needed to feed the world, no one ever injured by eating GMOs, scientific consensus on GMO safety, the label would be a warning, labeling would confuse consumers, the cost of labeling to consumers is high, and so on.
Fortunately, a few of the legislators on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee challenged them on several points.
Committee member Rep. Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury) provided one of the most memorable zingers of the hearing. After the opposition panel said their piece, Rep. Cutler asked the following of question to the representative of the Grocery Manufacturers Association:
Rep. Cutler: “…this Cornell study [which says that GMO labeling] would cost $500 per family per year, could you just tell us who funded that study?”
Mr. Costa (GMA): “Um… the uh… the uh study I believe came…, came from… uh, the uh.. Cornell University…”
Rep. Cutler [cutting him off]: “I’ll give you the answer. The Study came from the Council for Biotechnology Information.”
[WILD APPLAUSE FROM THE CROWD]
Later in the hearing, Jean Halloran from Consumer’s Union testified that its study of the same issue put the cost for a family of four at less than $10 per year.At this point it is important to thank all the legislators who testified in support of GMO labeling bill H.3242 and we hope to forward that list to you soon. The Coalition presented a photo testimony book to the Committee which consisted of color photos and testimony from 105 legislators.  It was very handsome, unique and a lot of work!

We now wait for the committee to “exec” the bill – that is to act on it.  We hope it will receive a favorable report from the Committee.  Last session a similar bill was referred to House Ways and Means for an examination of possible financial impact to the state’s budget and its potential effect on commerce. We will have to wait and see what happens there.

 

To send a message to your legislators encouraging them to vote on the bill ASAP, please visit: marighttoknow.org/contactlegislators

 

MA Coalition for GMO Labeling Applauds Massachusetts House Delegation for Voting No on DARK Act

MA_applauds

To send a THANK you to our members of Congress who voted NO and to encourage our Senators to do the same, please click here.

Boston, MA ­– Today, a coalition of consumer, community, farming and public health organizations working to pass a GMO food labeling law, thanked the Massachusetts congressional delegation for voting against HR1599, known as the Denying Americans the Right-to-Know (DARK) Act. The DARK Act passed the House 275-150, but eight of nine Massachusetts House members voted no. Representative Bill Keating (D-MA) did not vote on the bill.

“We are very grateful to the members of the Massachusetts delegation that voted against this blatant attempt by the food manufacturers and agro-chemical industry to squash states’ rights and consumers right to know,” said Martin Dagoberto, of MA Right to Know GMOs. “We hope that Senators Warren and Markey will stand with the House delegation and help defeat this awful legislation in the U.S. Senate.”

The DARK Act pre-empts state and local control over genetically engineered foods, often referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMOs, without putting a real system in place. Instead, the DARK Act would establish a federal policy of voluntary labeling for GMOs, which will fail to help consumers. The bill also creates a federal government bureaucracy for non-GMO labeling, even though there is already a private system that’s working well, and prevents state and local governments from implementing any sort of oversight of GMO crops, even when the federal government has declined to regulate them.

To date, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have passed labeling laws, and many other states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island are considering their own bills. Supporters of the DARK Act claim that federal preemption is needed because food manufacturers would have trouble complying with a patchwork of state laws. But every state law on GMO labeling that has been adopted, and the overwhelming majority of the bills that have been proposed in recent years, share the same core elements, including the definitions of key terms, what level of GMO ingredients trigger the labeling requirement, and the exemptions. No patchwork currently exists, nor is there likely to be one.

“I am disappointed to see this proposal advance on the federal level,” said State Representative Todd M. Smola. “States have every right to demand the labeling of GMO’s on products without federal intervention. GMO labeling is an open and transparent proposal that will provide consumers with information so that they can be well informed to make decisions about the products they buy. All we are looking to do is equip people with the facts. It will be up to them as to what they do with that information.”

“I support the growing movement in Massachusetts to consider GMO labeling and believe that each state should have the opportunity to debate the merits of this issue and enact laws to make sure consumers can make informed decisions about the food products they buy,” said State Senator Joan Lovely.

“Massachusetts is full of savvy consumers who are asking to know about the products they use and the food they eat. We demand high standards,” said State Representative Ellen Story. “Every mother deserves to know what her baby is eating. Every farmer deserves to know what crops are growing in her fields. Every person has a right to observe the religious dietary restrictions of her choice. Labeling makes good on those needs. I cannot believe that in the 21st century, Congress could seriously be considering hiding this information from us.”

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.

 

MA Coalition for GMO Labeling and legislative champions call on Massachusetts Congressional delegation to vote against DARK Act

Proposed federal law would undercut state efforts to address GMO labeling

DARK_PR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2015

Contact: Conor Yunits, 617.695.0369conor@libertysquaregroup.com

Boston, MA ­-  Today, a coalition of consumer, community, farming and public health organizations working to pass a GMO food labeling law, as well as their legislative champions in the Massachusetts State House, called on the Massachusetts congressional delegation to vote against HR1599, known as the Denying Americans the Right-to-Know (DARK) Act. The DARK Act was advanced by the House Agricultural Committee last week, and could emerge for a vote in the full House of Representatives as early as tomorrow, Thursday, July 23.

The DARK Act would improperly pre-empt state and local control over genetically engineered foods, often referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMOs. In place of state laws, the DARK Act would establish a federal policy of voluntary labeling for GMOs, which will fail to help consumers.  The bill also creates a federal government bureaucracy for non-GMO labeling, even though there is already a private system that’s working well, and prevents state and local governments from implementing any sort of oversight of GMO crops, even when the federal government has declined to regulate them.

“Passage of this law would be a tremendous blow to consumer information and transparency,” said Martin Dagoberto of MA Right to Know GMOs. “This is a law driven by corporate interests who are trying to stymie the growing movement of citizens to know more about their food. In addition, given that the GMO labeling movement has only had success in New England to this point, this bill feels like a direct attack by Congress on the people of New England, and our Congressional delegation should vote against it.”

To date, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have passed labeling laws, and many other states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, are considering their own bills. Supporters of the DARK Act claim that federal preemption is needed because food manufacturers would have trouble complying with a patchwork of state laws. But every state law on GMO labeling that has been adopted, and the overwhelming majority of the bills that have been proposed in recent years, share the same core elements, including the definitions of key terms, what level of GMO ingredients trigger the labeling requirement, and the exemptions. No patchwork currently exists, nor is there likely to be one.

“I am disappointed to see this proposal advance on the federal level,” said State Representative Todd M. Smola (R-Warren). “States have every right to demand the labeling of GMO’s on products without federal intervention. GMO labeling is an open and transparent proposal that will provide consumers with information so that they can be well informed to make decisions about the products they buy. All we are looking to do is equip people with the facts. It will be up to them as to what they do with that information.”

“I support the growing movement in Massachusetts to consider GMO labeling and believe that each state should have the opportunity to debate the merits of this issue and enact laws to make sure consumers can make informed decisions about the food products they buy,” said State Senator Joan Lovely (D-Peabody).

“Massachusetts is full of savvy consumers who are asking to know about the products they use and the food they eat. We demand high standards,” said State Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst). “Every mother deserves to know what her baby is eating. Every farmer deserves to know what crops are growing her fields. Every person has a right to observe the religious dietary restrictions of her choice. Labeling makes good on those needs. I cannot believe that in the 21st century, Congress could seriously be considering hiding this information from us.”

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.

###