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CONSUMERS & REGULATION: Time to take on Californian (USA) anti-biotech crowd over GMO labeling



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   TIME TO TAKE ON ANTI-BIOTECH CROWD OVER GMO LABELING

SOURCE:  Western Farm Press, USA

AUTHOR:  Harry Cline

URL:     http://westernfarmpress.com/blog/time-take-anti-biotech-crowd-over-gmo-labeling

DATE:    07.09.2011

SUMMARY: "Time to put end to the mandatory GMO labeling charade. Put it on the California statewide ballot and duke it out with radicals using the truth. Everything we eat is genetically modified, and the public should be made aware of that fact. The California anti-biotech/anti-genetically modified/anti-science crowd is at it again. [...] The mandatory GMO labeling proposal is going nowhere in Washington. Maybe it is time to bury it in California. It would be expensive to defeat. However, the time is right to stop this nonsense where it all started, in California."

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TIME TO TAKE ON ANTI-BIOTECH CROWD OVER GMO LABELING

Time to put end to the mandatory GMO labeling charade. Put it on the California statewide ballot and duke it out with radicals using the truth. Everything we eat is genetically modified, and the public should be made aware of that fact.

The California anti-biotech/anti-genetically modified/anti-science crowd is at it again.

This time around they are calling themselves ?advocates for truth in food labeling? and are gathering signatures to get another infamous California voter initiative on the 2012 California electoral ballot. If passed, it would mandate that GMO foods be labeled with some kind of warning.

Bring it on.

It is about time this GMO labeling issue be tackled head-on so the public can be told the truth. Truth is, everything we eat today has been genetically modified, using either conventional plant and animal breeding or biotech technology.

For example, a team of scientists at the University of California has identified no less than 14 so-called genetically modified feedstuffs that are fed to dairy cattle. These are just the biotech products. Of course conventionally genetically modified feedstuff is also fed to milk-producing dairy cows.

These include Roundup Ready corn, Bt grain and silage corn as well as distillers grain; Roundup Ready soybeans, Roundup Ready cottonseed, Bt cottonseed; Roundup Ready alfalfa, Roundup Ready canola, BST used to increase milk production, genetically-engineered Renet used in 90 percent of commercial cheese production, Roundup Ready sugar beets, glufosinate-resistant corn grain and silage, glufosinate-resistant cotton, glufosinate-resistant canola and imidazalione-tolerant corn.

Not all dairy cows are feed this complete list, but enough to dare say if you buy milk in California, it will have to be labeled GM0 under the hopefully ill-fated initiative. I suspect organic milk has some of the same ingredients since the overwhelming majority of corn, cotton and soybeans are biotech crops. If not, it would most certainly be conventionally genetically modified.

Of course a lot of those feeds are also fed to poultry and beef cattle.

And we could go on and on, right into the heart of the organic/anti biotech movement, the notorious Organic Trade Association, where one of its board members is a vice president and general manager of Smuckers Natural Foods. Smuckers uses high fructose corn syrup and other GMO ingredients in various jams and jellies. There are other food producing companies represented on the OTA board that also sell biotech foods.

The absurdity of this anti-biotech movement becomes more apparent each day as people realize that the world needs increasingly more food to head off starvation by millions. The most logical way to meet this challenge is with scientific advancement, including biotechnology.

The cost of food continues to go up with the growing scarcity of products as the world competes for food. The public is growing more aware of this each day.

It is time agriculture and food processors take on this anti-biotech crowd straight out with the facts and put a stop to this mandatory GMO labeling nonsense. It is time consumers are told the truth and put this anti-biotech initiative in the same category as the ludicrous anti-circumcision ban initiative a bunch of amazingly arrogant whackos in San Francisco tried to get on a city election ballot.

A superior court recently tossed the initiative off the ballot, even though enough signatures were collected to put it on a San Francisco city election ballot. Even the ACLU supported its removal from the ballot because it violated constitutional and religious freedoms.

The mandatory GMO labeling proposal is going nowhere in Washington. Maybe it is time to bury it in California. It would be expensive to defeat. However, the time is right to stop this nonsense where it all started, in California.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   BRIARPATCH STARTS NON-GMO LABELING

SOURCE:  The Union, USA

AUTHOR:  Stephanie Mandel

URL:     http://www.theunion.com/article/20110907/BREAKINGNEWS/110909845/1053&parentprofile=1053

DATE:    07.09.2011

SUMMARY: "BriarPatch Community Market in Grass Valley remains committed to providing shoppers with all available information about products sold at the store. BriarPatch has labeled all independently tested food items that are verified by the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit group that tests foods for genetically modified ingredients."

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BRIARPATCH STARTS NON-GMO LABELING

Stephanie Mandel is the marketing manager at BriarPatch Co-op Natural Foods Community Market in Grass Valley.

Growing concern about food safety has sparked conversation at the local natural food cooperative about unlabeled ingredients that may be in some packaged and processed foods.

BriarPatch Community Market in Grass Valley remains committed to providing shoppers with all available information about products sold at the store.

BriarPatch has labeled all independently tested food items that are verified by the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit group that tests foods for genetically modified ingredients.

?BriarPatch supports people?s right to know what is in the food they eat,? said General Manager Chris Maher. ?We?re committed to sharing all we know so our shoppers can make educated decisions about which products are right for them and their families.?

Genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms are created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology. This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into the DNA of another species, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and virus genes that could not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

For example, a flounder gene could be spliced into a strawberry gene, creating a strawberry more resistant to frigid temperatures.

Much food has GMOs

The proliferation of GE crops is a concern to many who prefer to eat organic and natural foods. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 93 percent of soy, 93 percent of cotton and 86 percent of corn crops in the United States are grown from genetically engineered seed.

More than 90 percent of canola grown in the U.S. and Canada is estimated to be genetically modified, according to an article in Scientific American.

Some commercially produced varieties of sugar beets, alfalfa, squash and Hawaiian papaya also are modified, according to the USDA.

As a result, it is estimated that genetically modified ingredients are now present in more than 80 percent of packaged products in the average retail grocery store, according to the Non-GMO Project. (A study from Colorado State University estimated 60 percent to 70 percent of processed food in grocery stores contains a least one genetically engineered ingredient.)

The U.S. has no mandatory GMO labeling requirement. Foods containing genetically modified ingredients are not identified in any way, making it impossible for consumers to choose products based on GMO content.

The Non-GMO Project?s seal for verified products provides the public the only opportunity to make informed choices when it comes to GMOs in certain foods.

Foods certified as organic may not be grown using genetically modified seed; however, organic foods are not tested after production.

Voluntary testing

The Non-GMO Project is an initiative of the organic and natural product industry in the United States and Canada to create a standardized definition of non-GMO and a third-party verification program to assess product compliance with this standard.

The project?s product verification program is entirely voluntary, and participants are companies that see the value of offering customers a verified non-GMO choice.

Many of the individuals and businesses leading the way with the project are the same folks responsible for creating the original organic standards.

BriarPatch Co-op Market is utilizing the Non-GMO Project list of 2,500 tested and verified products to label items which have been voluntarily tested and meet the rigorous requirements for verification.

These products are now easily identifiable by the ?Non-GMO Project Verified? label on product shelves at BriarPatch.

While consumers might be concerned about genetically modified food in the marketplace, for many foods, no genetically modified versions are available, Maher said.

?Much of what you consume on a regular basis couldn?t be a GMO. For example, bulk pinto beans couldn?t be GMOs as there is, to date, no GMO pinto bean,? Maher said.

?As the community?s leading natural food market ... we support people?s right to make their own purchasing decisions based on product knowledge, which we will do our very best to provide.?