These are exciting times, indeed. Public demand for safe and transparent food systems has reached new heights across the country in recent months. Just this past Monday, while dozens of safe food advocates and partners of MA Right to Know GMOs attended a public hearing in Spencer, one of the co-founders of the network traveled to Hartford, to speak at a press conference and celebrate with our neighbors in this national movement. Connecticut is now the first state to have passed GMO labeling legislation. But it will only take effect if at least 4 other states adopt similar legislation, and, according to “the trigger clause,” one state has to border Connecticut. Fortunately, we are already working together.
MA Right to Know GMOs stands with GMO Free CT as allies in a coalition of grassroots efforts to help protect our food and our democracy. The State of Connecticut has emerged as leader in the national movement for safe and transparent food system, and now the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a chance to join them.
We wanted to share some details and info on the upcoming hearing on June 11th in Boston. This will be a bit bigger than the hearing at the high school in Spencer. The auditorium there was packed, and we had over 22 people present testimony in person (with more than 50 written testimonies). We expect even more people in Boston, and we have a few high profile speakers coming in.
Public hearing on 3 proposed GMO labeling bills
On June 11th, 2013, the “Joint Committee on Public Health” will hold a hearing to take public input on 21 different bills related to the event title: “Food Safety, Nutrition and Labeling.” These bills range from sanitation codes, to allergen procedures, to the labeling of genetically modified foods. The committee is considering 3 different GMO food labeling bills. (For full details on the GMO bills, please visit our website.)
What are we trying to do?
First and foremost, we are going on record, making our voices heard: We are declaring our right to know what’s in our food. We are participating in our democratic system by offering input at a public hearing. Even if we don’t actually speak, our physical presence there makes a difference.
We want to make sure that not only does a GMO labeling bill go somewhere this session (rather than “dying in study” as it has in the past), we want to support new language that will most effectively protect our food and have the best chance of withstanding legal challenge by the biotech/junk food industries.
What will happen on the 11th?
People are going to be gathering at the front gate of the State House by 9 am. A few special guests will be there to address the crowd, and we’ll encourage anyone to “speak out” and get the energy going before we head in. And there will be ice cream. Did we mention that Ben and Jerry’s is coming?
Some people will begin entering the building by 9:30am, as the hearing starts at 10:00 am in room A-1. MA Right to Know GMOs is assembling panels of expert witnesses and other selected testimony to present a full story to the committee and effectively convey the need for GMO labeling. We are still looking for a few more mothers, health care practioners, and other perspectives to talk about GMO labeling. If you’d like to testify, please fill out the sign-up sheet, and let us know. Of course, everyone has a right to give testimony in person at the hearing, but we are also encouraging people to submit written testimony ahead of time through our website, Marighttoknow.org It was great to be able to hand in 50 written testimonies from people across the state when we spoke on Monday.
If you want (A LOT) more details on what to expect the day of the hearing, we’ve put together a document called “What to Expect!” It SHOULD have all the details you could need (if there’s anything missing, please let us know!)http://marighttoknow.com/home/legislative-support/ma-legislation/what-to-expect-public-hearing-on-gmo-labeling/
We’ve copied an abbreviated text flier/post that you can use to share with your friends and networks. We appreciate your help in spreading the word, and please consider submitting testimony. If you’re on twitter (we’re looking for help on our social media team), we’ll be sharing live updates via @LabelGMOsMA. As always, feel free to contact us via our facebook page or email MAR2KGMOs@gmail.com with any questions.
We look forward to having you join us at the hearing, and taking a stand for food democracy,
Martin Dagoberto on behalf of the rest of the hearing preparation working group
[please copy and use the below action alert to help spread the word!]
Declare Your Right to Know! Upcoming Public Hearings on GMO labeling
On June 11th, safe food advocates across the Commonwealth will have an opportunity to address their legislators in support of mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs). State legislators are now considering five GMO labeling bills. The hearing comes days after Connecticut passes first-in-the-nation GMO labeling legislation. Though passed, the new law will only take effect after 4 other states adopt similar legislation, and one of them has to border Connecticut. The People of Massachusetts now have a chance to be part of this national movement for food democracy, in a very big way. But we need to make our voices heard.
Want to know if your food is GMO?
3 ways to make your voice heard:
#1. Attend the public hearing! June 11th in Boston. (details below) Seeing a crowd of supporters will have an impact. Spread the word in person and on Facebook/Twitter!
#2. Submit Testimony! We are forming panels of experts, consumers and concerned individuals. We are also collecting written testimony to print and submit. Please sign up or submit testimony using this form: http://bit.ly/17wZPRX
#3. Call your State Representatives and let them know that you support GMO labeling.
Get your representatives phone number, here: http://www.malegislature.gov/people/findmylegislator
You can also fill out a click-and-send letter, here:
Public hearings are an important part of the legislative process, and they need to hear from you! We invite you to join us at either or both hearings to declare your right to know.
Massachusetts GMO Labeling Bills Hearing
June 11, 2013, 10:00 AM, Rally starting at 9 AM!
MA State House, Room A-1
Please share the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/527361627325700/
Sign up to submit testimony in person or in writing! http://bit.ly/17wZPRX
Please join us for these demonstrations of public support for GMO labeling, and consider submitting testimony. We have set up a form to submit testimony and to express your willingness to speak at the hearing. If you cannot attend, you can still use the form and we’ll print and submit your testimony for you.
Let’s Carpool! We set up a board on RideBuzz. It’s easy to set up an account with this great service and post if you need a ride or have an extra seat. http://www.ridebuzz.org/events-group/public-hearing-gmo-labeling-state-house-boston-22412.html
Why label GMOs?
Here a few reasons:
Most people have no idea: GMOs were quietly introduced into our food supply in the 90′s, and the FDA requires no safety testing or labeling, (even though FDA scientists stated concerns about potential dangers.)
People NEED to know: GMOs have not been proven safe, and in fact, a growing body of independent peer-reviewed studies have linked these foods to allergies, immune problems, infertility and cancers.
No Cost to Consumers or Food Producers: Companies change their labeling all the time, and dozens of other countries have already introduced GMO labeling without increasing food costs.
GMO crops easily contaminate non-GMO crops, threatening the consumer’s ability to choose non-GMO foods.
Superweeds and pests have become resistant to GMO-affiliated herbicides and toxic pesticide use has increased
The free market is supposed to provide consumers with accurate information about products so we can make informed choices.
Massachusetts Right to Know GMOs is a statewide network of safe food advocates working together to reach a critical mass of awareness and support for mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified (GM) foods. We are educating our communities about the health and environmental risks associated with GM foods and making our voices heard:
“We have a right to know what’s in our food!”