National Coalition “Just Label It” Urges Defeat of Farmers Assurance Bill

Washington, D.C. (June 25th, 2012) – Just Label It, the national coalition for genetically engineered (GE) food labeling, urged Americans to fight special interests in Washington who want to deny Americans their right to know about their food.  The fight centers around a new provision to the FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that would bar agriculture officials and judges from being able to stop the planting of GE crops when needed.

“This is an unprecedented move by special interests to subvert the separation of powers so carefully laid out in the U.S. Constitution to protect all of our rights,” said Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, Just Label It.  “This provision could negatively impact our environment and our health and compromises the consumers’ right to know about our food.  It must be defeated.”

The Farmers Assurance Bill was introduced this month on the heels of the defeat of the “Consumers Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food Act” in the Senate. At it again, chemical companies are trying to extend their control by

stripping federal courts of their authority to halt the sale and planting of an unapproved GE crop while the USDA assesses its potential hazards.  This unprecedented move would place consumer concerns on a back burner and allow farmers to grow potentially dangerous GE crops during legal appeals of the approval process, instead of afterwards.

Labeled the “Farmer Assurance Provision,” though special interests are the only ones it is designed to assure, this proposed policy rider would: eliminate fundamental and constitutional safeguards of our judicial review system; undermine the USDA’s oversight and approval process and weaken consumer protections; allow powerful chemical companies to dodge reasonable restrictions on potentially hazardous GE crops; and, may compel the USDA to allow all permits for continued planting of unapproved GE crops, even if previously unrecognized health risks are found.

“This has dangerous consequences.  It potentially exposes non-GE farmers to substantial damages and, due to international GE-crop trade restrictions, puts our nation’s agricultural markets at risk,” warned Hirshberg.

Just Label It is rallying the members of its more than 540 diverse partner organizations and the public to tell their U.S. representatives to oppose the measure, which is now being debated in the House of Representatives.

“As we continue to voice our concerns about the food system, powerful special interests will continue to push their own, profit-driven positions that negatively affect each and every American,” concluded Hirshberg.  “Without the appropriate supervision and safeguards, large corporations will continue to control our food safety, with a high cost to both our health and our environment. “


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