Food Freedom News
May 3, 2012
Stroller-pushing mothers delivered nearly a million signatures in Sacramento on Wednesday, for an initiative to put to populist vote The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
The ten-week signature drive collected nearly double the amount needed to put the R2K Act on the November 6, 2012 ballot.
The state will take between five and seven weeks to validate the signatures, and then certify the results. Of the 555,236 needed, thousands of volunteers collected 971,126, just shy of the hoped-for million.
“In ten weeks, nearly a million registered voters signed the ballot initiative,” said Pamm Larry, who single-handedly started the drive on January 20, 2011. “Even biotech engineers gathered signatures for us.”
Having founded LabelGMOs.org, Larry then coordinated with other pro-labeling civic groups across the state and nation.
Victory celebrations were held in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego today, reported CA Right to Know in a press conference.
If voters approve the measure this fall, beginning July 1, 2014, food makers will be required to label those products that contain genetically modified ingredients.
Significantly, the “natural” term can no longer be used if the product contains GMOs.
There are several exemptions, including GMO-fed and GMO-drugged animals, as well as any raw ag product that was unintentionally contaminated with GMOs. Suppliers and producers may be asked to provide a sworn statement that as far as they know, the food is GE-free.
According to the Act, anyone relying on those sworn statements is off the hook legally if the product turns out to have GMOs.
There is a requirement in the Act that grocery store bins or shelves must also be GE-labeled if any unlabeled raw agricultural GE products (like GE corn) are sold. But there’s no liability to the store owner if the supplier provides a sworn statement that the food is GE-free when it’s not.
Given the biotech industry’s penchant for hyperbole (relating to yield, cost and pesticide use), it’s no surprise to hear them declare the Act will cause food prices to spike.
But, as one of the organizers says, “They have 18 months after the election to change their labels, something that is frequently done in the food industry.” Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield which has been organic-certified for 20 years, added, “All they have to do is add some ink.”
Several large organizations opposing the measure have organized behind Stop Costly Food Labeling (SCFL), including the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the Council for Biotechnology Information, the CA Farm Bureau Federation, and, you guessed it, the Chamber of Commerce.
Another lie right out of their lying mouths is that the R2K Act will require, “prohibiting processed foods from being labeled as natural, even if they contain no GE ingredients.”
No such language exists in the eight-page Act.
Not only that, but there’s still a whole lot of wiggle room for GE-contaminated foods. See pages 4-6 for the list of exemptions, like this one:
“Until July 1, 2019, any processed food that would be subject to section 110809 solely because it includes one or more genetically engineered ingredients, provided that: (i) no single such ingredient accounts for more than one-half of one percent of the total weight of such processed food; and (ii) the processed food does not contain more than ten such ingredients.” §110809.2(e)
This means that food can have up to 5% genetically modified organisms by weight (and up to ten of the little buggers) and remain free of the GE label. Looks like biotech scored big on that exemption; GE-free should be GE-free.
But, this exemption is temporary, explains Pamm Larry. That exemption was “put in to give industry time to find nonGMO sourcing for microingredients as they are very difficult to find at present. They were put there to not put undue burden on the industry. That exemption expires in seven years. After that, those ingredients must be labeled also.”