It was a big disappointment when the first GMO labeling bill was shot down in California last year. But now other states are making efforts to pass bills and I’m happy to see my own state leading the pack.
GMO FREE PA, a grassroots group whose mission is to educate people about genetically engineered foods and advocate for legislation that requires mandatory labeling of such foods, is launching the “Right to Know GMO” campaign ahead of the introduction of a labeling bill, sponsored by Senator Leach (D), on March 12th.
Genetic engineering (also known as genetic modification and GMOs) is the process of inserting genes from one species into another (for example, bacteria genes into corn). Unlike cross breeding, genetic engineering breaches the natural barriers between species and the process used to create genetically engineered seeds creates unintended consequences that have yet to be proven safe by the FDA or the United States Government.
In 2012, the FDA dismissed a petition signed by over one million people calling for GMO labeling, thereby making it clear that citizens would have to fight for their right to know one state at a time. A national coalition of states formed to co-ordinate efforts to label GMOs, now 37 states strong plus Canada, of which GMO Free PA is a member of. The “Right To Know GMO” campaign is being rolled out by nearly all of the states in this coalition over the next 24 months. It is felt that by creating unity across the country, Americans can begin to make their voices heard.
It is estimated that over 70% of processed foods on our supermarket shelves now contain genetically engineered ingredients and consumer awareness and choice are more important now than ever. Over 60 countries throughout the world already mandate GMO labeling, leaving the United States as one of the only industrialized countries in the world that does not.
GMO Free PA’s greatest goal at this time is to increase awareness and encourage citizens throughout the state to mobilize and let their legislators know that they want genetically engineered foods to be labeled.