Archive for January, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 01:01 PM
posted by Mik and Rudi

A simple letter to get out to your House of Representatives member – let’s educate them to the need for the freedom of choice.

Date:  ___________________

Representative _________________

US House of Representatives

Washington, DC

Dear Representative:

As my voice in Washington, I request that you co-sponsor HR 3553, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act. I, like a majority of Americans agree, with the findings of this bill that “genetically engineering foods results in the material change of such foods” and therefore according to a currently unenforced law, this material fact should be clearly provided on food labels.  Voluntary labeling has proven ineffective, therefore; mandatory labeling is urgently needed.

I want to know about when food contains or is produced with a genetically engineered material. The government has done a dismal job of protecting the public by allowing so many genetically engineered products into the food supply.  A mandatory label will at least give consumers accurate information so we can make our own choices in the marketplace.

Many Americans need to know of the potential transfer of allergens into food and other health risks.  I am concerned about potential environmental risks associated with the genetic engineering of crops; and many Americans have religiously and ethically based dietary restrictions which require labeling of genetically engineered foods.  Worldwide consumers and farmers are concerned about the entrance of plant and animal species that have been genetically engineered.  HR 3553 is a good first step on the right course of protecting heritage species and consumer choice.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 01:01 PM
posted by Beth Clay

The POP CAMPAIGN is most concerned about GE / GMO labeling – our ally in Washington has given us this heads up – act now – see the letter posted above.

American Consumers like our global neighbors have been vocal about our desire to have accurate labeling foods regarding the inclusion of genetically engineered ingredients.  A major advance took place in the international regulatory body, the Codex Alimentarius in 2011 when the delegation from the United States removed its decade long objection to a confirmation that individual nations may establish regulations regarding genetically engineered foods.

Members of the United States Congress have introduced legislation in response to growing concerns from consumers and the agricultural community that genetically engineered (sometimes referred to as ‘bioengineered’ or ‘genetically modified’ or “GMO”) seeds and foods are entering the marketplace without adequate protections to the organic/heritage seeds and without truthful labeling. Alaska legislators stood in defense of wild raised salmon last winter with bills and legislative maneuvers to keep the Federal Government (USDA/FDA) from approval genetically engineered salmon.  Congressman Kucinich has reintroduced 3 bills this term. These three bills address three aspects of genetic engineering including labeling, cultivation, and litigation.

From my meetings on the Hill with staff in Tea Party and conservative Republicans, the labeling bill (HR 355) is the one which will most easily gain bi-partisan support.

A Call to Action (1 page fax, email alert, phone calls) will be needed to generate support on these issues. A draft 1 page fax is in the works.

A Summary of bills in the 112th Congress (viable until the end of the 2012)

Bill Number Title Sponsor # of Co-Sponsors Information

H.R.3553

Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio

14

Introduced December 2011

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, and the Poultry Products Inspection Act to require that food that contains a genetically engineered material, or that is produced with  genetically engineered material, be labeled accordingly.

Referred to both Agriculture Committee and the Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health

H.R.3554

Genetically Engineered Safety Act

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio

2

Introduced December 2011

To prohibit the open-air cultivation of genetically engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops, to prohibit the use of common human food or animal feed as the host plant for a genetically engineered pharmaceutical or industrial chemical, to establish a tracking system to regulate the growing, handling, transportation, and disposal of pharmaceutical and industrial crops and their byproducts to prevent human, animal, and general environmental exposure  to genetically  engineered  pharmaceutical and industrial crops and their byproducts, to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the safety of genetically engineered foods, and for other purposes.

Referred to two committees:  The Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture and Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health

H.R.3555

Genetically Engineered Technology Farmer Protection Act

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio

2

Introduced in December 2011

To provide additional protections for farmers and ranchers that may be harmed economically by genetically engineered seeds, plants, or animals, to ensure fairness for farmers and ranchers in their dealings with biotech companies that sell genetically engineered seeds, plants, or animals, to assign liability for injury caused by genetically engineered organisms, and for other purposes.

This Bill has been referred to 3 Committees:

Committee on Agriculture

Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health and the

Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law

H.R.520

With companion Senate Bill

S.229

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require labeling of genetically engineered fish

Rep. Don Young of Alaska

Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska

24 House

6 Senate

Introduced in Feb. 2011

Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem a food to be misbranded if it contains genetically-engineered fish unless the food bears a label stating that it contains genetically-engineered fish.

Referred to Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health.

Referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labors and Pensions

In a related activity, during the floor activity on H.R.2112 the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 which included funding for the FDA, Congressman Young offered Amendment (A031) which was agreed to by voice vote in June 2011. The language does not appear to be in the final bill that became law.

H.R.521

With companion Senate Bill

S.230

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prevent the approval of genetically engineered fish.

Rep. Don Young of Alaska

Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska

15  House

4 Senate

Introduced in Feb. 2011

Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem genetically-engineered fish to be unsafe under provisions related to new animal drugs and adulterated food.

Referred to Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health.

Referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labors and Pensions

There was an attempt to restrict any spending towards the government approval of genetically engineered fish in the Agricultural appropriations bill.  This language appears to have been removed from the final bill that was signed into law.

The Below Summary is provided by Representative Kucinich’s Office

Rep. Kucinich Genetically Engineered Food Legislation: A 3-Piece Framework:

I. The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act:

What the bill does:

  • Requires food companies to label all foods that contain or are produced with genetically engineered (GE) material and requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to periodically test products to ensure compliance;
  • Authorizes voluntary, non-GE food labels, exempting food served in restaurants;
  • Establishes a legal framework is to ensure the accuracy of labeling without creating significant economic hardship on the food production system.

II. The Genetically Engineered Safety Act:

What the bill does:

  • Requires the FDA to screen all GE foods through the current food additive process to ensure safety for human consumption. Continues FDA discretion in applying the safety factors that are generally recognized as appropriate;
  • Places a temporary moratorium on pharmaceutical crops and industrial crops until all regulations required by the bill are in effect;
  • Requires that unique concerns regarding GE foods be explicitly examined in the review process; provides for a phase out of antibiotic resistance markers; implements a prohibition on known allergens; and requires the FDA to conduct a public comment period of at least 30 days;
  • Places a permanent moratorium on pharmaceutical crops and industrial crops grown in an open-air environment and on pharmaceutical crops and industrial crops grown in a commonly used food source;
  • Requires the United States Department of Agriculture to establish a tracking system to regulate the growing, handling, transportation, and disposal of all pharmaceutical and industrial crops and their byproducts to prevent contamination;
  • Calls on the National Academy of Sciences to submit to Congress a report that explores alternative methods to produce pharmaceuticals or industrial chemicals that have the advantage of being conducted in controlled production facilities and do not present the risk of contamination.

III. The Genetically Engineered Technology Farmer Protection Act:

What the bill does:

  • Farmers may save seeds and seek compensation for failed genetically engineered crops;
  • Biotech companies may not: shift liability to farmers; nor require access to farmer’s property; nor mandate arbitration; nor mandate court of jurisdiction; nor require damages beyond actual fees; nor charge more to American farmers for use of this technology, than they charge farmers in other nations, or any other unfair condition;
  • Seed companies must: ensure seeds labeled non-GE are accurate; provide clear instructions to reduce cross-pollination, which contaminates other fields; and inform farmers of the risks of using genetically engineered crops;
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to evaluate the concern of Bt resistant pests and take actions necessary to prevent resistance to Bt, an important organic pesticide;
  • Prohibits genetic engineering designed to produce sterile seeds;
  • Loan discrimination based on the choice of seeds an agricultural producer uses is prohibited;
  • Place all liability from negative impacts of genetically engineered organisms squarely upon the biotechnology companies that created the genetically engineered organism;
  • Farmers are granted indemnification to protect them from the liabilities of biotech companies;
  • Prohibits any transfer of liability away from the biotechnology companies that created the genetically

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