New Leadership Against GM Foods
|May 22, 2002||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Safety and Consumer Protection are Vital
Leaders Say ‘Whoa’ to Genetic Manipulation of Crops
We are delighted to report on two recent acts of leadership in the effort to protect the world’s food supply from contamination.
In Italy, three genetically-modified (GM) crops have been blocked from planting by the Italian Farm Minister. In the USA, Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s leadership has caused 48 other members of Congress to sign a letter calling for labeling of foods to reveal whether they include genetically-manipulated ingredients.
Here are a few excerpts from news reports by Reuters and the Grassroots Media Network. Tell your representatives to support safety labeling!
In the USA
Some 48 mostly Democratic members of Congress urged federal regulators require labels on U.S. foods made with bioengineered ingredients, following the lead of the European Union.
The FDA currently does not require labels, based on paid lobbyists’ claim that GM crops do not pose health or safety risks any different from traditional breeding techniques.
Rep. David Bonior, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, said the FDA must ensure that consumers get the “vital information” they need about bioengineered foods.
“Without labeling and ensuring their right-to-know, consumers’ interests are not adequately protected,” he and other lawmakers said in a letter to FDA Commissioner Jane Henney.
Three Republicans — Benjamin Gilman of New York, Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland — also signed the letter.
“We believe that the labeling provisions of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, which are intended to ensure that consumers are provided thorough information and are not misled about the characteristics of their food, require the FDA to label genetically engineered or modified foods,” the letter said.
The European Union recently said it would require labels on foods containing more than one percent GM ingredients, in response to green groups and consumer activists who expressed concern about long-term health effects of gene alterations.
Japan, Australia and other countries have also adopted labelling requirements.
Paolo De Castro said he had stopped the modified plants from being registered as field crops pending “a collegial decision from the government.”
The minister said he had written to Italian Premier Massimo D’Alema to urge the cabinet to decide.
For the moment, De Castro has also halted all new GM testing programs. He said he wanted responsibility for the schemes to be shared by regional governments before giving the go-ahead.
De Castro’s decision was welcomed by citizens and the Italian Green party, whose Lower House whip Mauro Paissan said the experimental growing of GM crops in Italy was being carried out without the necessary precautions or controls.
Why won’t the genetic manipulators voluntarily give consumers the information that they want? Why try to silence the scientific studies that show dangers? Tell your opinion to The Progress Report!