Consumer-backed Effort to Label Genetically Engineered Food Releases Video by Food, Inc. Filmmaker Robert Kenner
Boston, MA (Jan. 18, 2012) — With more than a half-million consumers already on board, a campaign petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label genetically engineered (GE) food today launched the video “Labels Matter” to garner even more consumer awareness and participation. Encouraging consumers to fight to know what is in their food, the video is the result of collaboration between the Just Label It campaign (www.justlabelit.org) and filmmaker Robert Kenner.
“‘Labels Matter’ captures my conviction that consumers have the right to know what is in their food,” said Kenner, who produced and directed the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary FOOD, INC. “Labels Matter” is a part of Kenner’s FixFood project, a social media platform to empower Americans to take immediate action to create a more sustainable and democratic food system.
Organizers of the Just Label It (JLI) campaign predict the drumbeat for mandatory GE labeling is only going to get louder as FDA prepares to approve GE salmon and a proposal advances at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deregulate corn engineered to be resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D, a major component in Agent Orange.
Unlike the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and even China, the United States does not require labeling for GE foods. The video portrays three average American consumers, who represent the vast majority of Americans (90% in most studies) who believe GE foods should be labeled. In the video,
three consumers share why they want to know what is in the food they eat. One is a mother whose child developed an allergic reaction to breakfast. Another is a pregnant woman who knows what she eats could affect her developing fetus. The third has recently had a heart attack and wants to monitor what she eats.
JLI is a broad-based coalition of 460 consumer, parenting, food, retail, farming, and public health groups that has generated more than a half-million consumer comments on a legal petition (Docket # FDA-2011-P-0723-0001/CP) calling on FDA to label GE foods. Stonyfield Farm Chairman Gary Hirshberg, a founder of JLI who was in FOOD, INC., approached Kenner on behalf of the campaign to partner on the video.
“While the pros and cons of GE foods are debated, an entire generation is growing up consuming them,” said Hirshberg, the father of three. “Until we have no doubt that GE crops are safe to eat, consumers should have a choice about whether we want to eat them. GE foods must be labeled. Consumers need to know.”