While environmental, health and consumer advocate voices are common in the chorus supporting the labeling of foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), other voices are less prevalent. In a move to directly counteract that, Congressman Jared Polis (Colorado’s second district) invited representatives from the faith and business communities to share their perspective on why labeling of GMOs is so important.Hazon’s own Becky O’Brien, Boulder director, spoke at a press conference in Boulder where Polis announced that he is a lead co-sponsor of a federal GMO labeling bill. The room was filled to capacity with press and concerned citizens to hear about this exciting new development.The GMO labeling bill, which will require that accurate information be disclosed to consumers when food contains a genetically engineered material or is produced with such material. Following state GMO labeling efforts in California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Missouri and Washingto
n State, this federal bill will grant consumers the right to know what they are eating.
“I am proud to help lead the GMO Labeling Bill, which is all about consumer choice and information,” said Congressman Jared Polis. “It’s important to empower people with the information they need to make their own healthy choices. People have the right to make consumer decisions based on accurate transparency in labeling, and knowledge is power.”
O’Brien shared, “In Genesis, God lays out the relationship between humankind and Creation, humankind and the rest of the earth. We are meant to be both stewards of Creation as well as partners in Creation. Is it possible to determine a point at which our roles and responsibilities of being partners in Creation might prevent us from being stewards? This is a fascinating question and important to discuss thoughtfully. And, it cannot be adequately explored without transparency and information. Labeling of foods with GMOs takes us in the right direction.”
Genetically Modified Organisms have become a major part of our food supply, but today consumers have little ability to identify which products contain them.
· Over 50 countries around the world have significant restrictions or bans on GMO foods.
· According to a recent Washington Post article, 94% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labeled.
· An estimated 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered and 91 percent of soybeans.
· An estimated 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients.
The GMO Labeling bill:
· States that consumers have a right to know whether the food they purchase contains or was produced with genetically engineered material.
· Defines the term genetically modified organism including plants, animals and fish and requirements for labeling.
· Provides a framework of civil penalties for violations.
O’Brien concluded her remarks, “We must not lose sight of our responsibilities to ensure a healthy and sustainable world for future generations. Labeling of GMOs provides consumers with freedom of choice and enables us to fulfill our role as partners in Creation.”