Top 10 GMO Labeling Stories of 2014

This has been a heated year in the fight to label genetically modified foods. Vermont passed the first no-strings-attached state labeling law.  The food industry fought back by supporting a federal bill that would block any state from requiring mandatory GMO labeling.  Here are some groundbreaking stories from this year.

GMO labeling: Is the fight worth it?

January 14 – Scott Faber of Just Label It adds, “smart companies are recognizing that the long-term trend is toward more disclosure and not less.” That reality, he says, might be the single best argument for GMO labeling. It — or even the threat of it — could be the first step toward a system in which transparency becomes one way companies compete. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s already do it, and General Mills’ announcement that Cheerios would drop GMOs indicates that the big manufacturers are paying close attention. Regardless of your position on GMOs, or on labeling, it’s hard to oppose transparency. Read more >>

States weighing labels on genetically modified foods

January 22 – In the absence of federal regulation, states from Rhode Island to Hawaii are considering laws to require labels on food items containing genetically modified ingredients. Currently, only Connecticut and Maine have laws requiring labels for genetically modified food. But those requirements won’t kick in until other states adopt their own rules. Bills to do just that are expected in more than two dozen states. Read more >>

Food makers’ ‘natural’ claims draw scrutiny

March 2 – Across the food industry, “natural” has long been one of the most popular labels because it evokes an image of good health. But there are no clear standards for what qualifies, and some argue that the word is so vague that it’s meaningless. The ingredients that go into many items have heightened the debate. Products containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients, such as Kix and Nature Valley bars, have come under particularly fierce attack. Read more >>

Do We Really Need Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods? Vermont Says Yes

May 9 – In an historic moment for GE labeling, Governor Peter Shumlin signed Vermont Bill 122 into law yesterday, making it the first state in the country to mandate foods with genetically modified ingredients be labeled.  Additionally, the law will mean foods with genetically engineered materials cannot be called “natural,” or say “naturally made,” on packaging in the state. Read more >>

Ben & Jerry’s Throws Fudge Brownie into GMO Food Fight

August 1 – Ben & Jerry’s support of the [Vermont GMO labeling] law — a swirl of savvy public relations, financial backing, and grass-roots activism — pits the ice cream maker against the world’s biggest food companies, including its own corporate parent. Unilever has openly opposed state efforts to legislate GMO labeling, throwing money into campaigns to defeat an initiative in California. But it has quietly allowed Ben & Jerry’s to assert itself as a vocal proponent of such laws, especially in Vermont. Read more >>

Congress and physicians fear new weed killer will significantly harm children

August 1 – A pending federal decision to approve a new herbicide has 50 members of Congress and untold numbers of physicians worried for the health of children worldwide. Members of Congress and doctors are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reject a new weed killer, called Enlist Duo, as well as the genetically engineered seeds that would be used with it. Today (Aug. 1, 2014), the EPA was presented with a letter from 50 Congressional leaders citing concerns over the new herbicide. Read more >>

Greens blast EPA for approving ‘superweed’ pesticide for farmers

October 15 – Green groups are lashing out against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after it approved what they see as a dangerous weed killer. The EPA gave the go-ahead to a pesticide known as Enlist Duo on Wednesday to help farmers fight back against stubborn “superweeds” that are resistant to basic weed killers. The move represents a big step forward for farmers. But green groups say the EPA is putting the environment and public health in danger by approving a toxic chemical to be used in corn and soybean fields. Read more >>

GMO label efforts fail but ‘fight will continue’

November 6 – Voters in Colorado and Oregon rejected ballot measures that would have required labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods. The vote in Colorado on Tuesday was overwhelmingly against the labeling, while Oregon’s was much closer. “Last night’s decision only strengthens our resolve to fight for the consumers’ right to know what’s in their food,” said Scott Faber, executive director of Just Label It, a proponent of GMO labeling. Read more >>

Gourmet chefs turn heat up on mandatory GMO labels

December 2 – More than a dozen “celebrity” chefs met with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., on Capitol Hill Tuesday to promote a federal mandate for GMO labeling. At a press conference, the chefs unveiled a petition organized by Tom Colicchio, known as a judge on the reality television show “Top Chef,” in which they and 700 colleagues ask Congress to advance legislation sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., that would require FDA to require labels for food products made with genetically engineered ingredients. Read more >>

Lawmakers Wary of Genetically Modified Food Labels

December 10 – Republicans and Democrats on a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee questioned Wednesday whether requiring a label on any packaged food including genetically modified organisms? Or foods grown from seeds engineered in labs? Would be misleading to consumers since there is little scientific evidence that such foods are unsafe. The food industry has made a similar argument. Read more >>

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