March 2012
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GLEANINGS: n. 1. That which has been acquired by gleaning. 2. The monthly eNewsletter of CT NOFA. [Glean:v. 1. to gather relevant information or material by patient effort, bit by bit; to find out. 2. to gather grain or other produce (often: left by reapers); to harvest.]
From the Executive Director

bill duesing

Labeling GMOs: Hopes and Fears


"...several companies also deliberately misled workers, customers, regulators and the public for many decades."


Ten minutes with Jeffrey Smith turned Senator John McKinney, the Minority Leader of the Connecticut Senate, into a believer in a Connecticut Law to require labeling of foods that contain GMOs, aka Genetically Modified Organisms or Genetically Engineered Organisms.  


Jeffrey appeared at a press conference at the Capitol with about a dozen state legislators the day before CT NOFA's 30 Annual Winter Conference that brought him to our state. The legislators ranged from among the most conservative to among the most liberal and they all shared their reasons why we should label GMOs. Apparently it is a good sign that so many legislators are willing to stand up for a bill so early in the process. Find out more about Jeffrey Smith and the Institute for Responsible Technology here. Jeffrey appeared on the Colin McEnroe Show two days before our conference.  


Ask your Connecticut Legislators to support the bill.   

The biotech industry has the money.  We have the numbers. 

Connecticut has a very exciting opportunity to be the first state in the nation to require labeling of foods that contain Genetically Modified Organisms, although many other states are also working on GMO labeling legislation. (See other opportunities to have your voice heard below.)


It should also be a sobering challenge to us to keep up our educational work. Already, industry lobbyists are all over the Capitol sowing misinformation and lies.  When Oregon was close to passing a labeling initiative, Monsanto and the industry spent $6 million on a disinformation campaign and defeated the initiative.  


This shouldn't be surprising.  One of the "several companies" in the quote at the top is Monsanto.  The quote is about PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls.  In the 1930s, Monsanto said PCBs were safe.  Now we know they are dangerous and they are everywhere.  Thanks Monsanto.


Now Monsanto and its friends in the industrial ag establishment trumpet that the FDA says GMOs are no different than conventional foods and so don't need to be labeled. 


The reality is that Michael Taylor, who divides his time between the FDA and Monsanto, says they are safe.  (Michael Taylor is currently in charge of Food Safety at FDA. There is an effort to recall him here  and a story about it here.) Jeffrey Smith sued for and obtained access to over 40,000 internal FDA documents from its own scientists who worried that GMOs are different and should be studied more before being widely fed to humans.


There have been no long term GMO feeding studies. Many of the short term ones show worrisome problems, but Monsanto limits the research that can be done with its patented seeds.  Certainly no test of a lifetime of eating a diet increasingly full of GMOs has ever been done.

The bun and onion coating likely contain GMOs. Monsanto is working on Roundup Ready tomatoes and lettuce.

CT NOFA's 30th Annual Winter Conference

The timing of our conference with couldn't have been better, since it fit so well into the legislative push.  (The theme was set late in 2010 when the NOFA Interstate Council saw that GMOs were an important focus for state chapters in the next few years.)  


It was really exciting to bring well over 300 people together to spend 60 minutes with Jeffrey Smith during the keynote program. Jeffrey really excited and convinced the audience of the special opportunity we have in Connecticut and of why it is important for us to take advantage of the opportunity to know what is in our food.  


Long time members John and Beverly Corvino were so fired up that John devoted most of his March 5 show on WPKN to news of the conference and an interview with Jeffrey Smith. 


Member Analiese Paik is organizing events and media outreach in the Fairfield area.  Organic farmer Guy Beardsley will have Analiese on his Organic Farmstand show on WPKN.


A local TV producer is making labeling GMOs a topic of his weekly cable show in the Bridgeport area.  Bob Burns, Analiese Paik and I will participate.  


Rep. Tony Hwang, an early and enthusiastic supporter of labeling, will be at an event on March 10 at the Pequot Library in Southport.  


Hopefully many others are organizing events and educating in their communities.


Let us know if you need help organizing an event or getting the word out. 


The Right to Know CT!

The Right to Know CT! is the name of the campaign.  It just makes so much sense.  We have a right to know what is in our food.  You can read my testimony on GMO labeling here


As obvious as it seems to us, we all need to keep educating ourselves, our friends, family and neighbors and our Senators and Representatives in Hartford.  Click here to take action! 


Monsanto has been spreading misinformation for decades, and it is not likely to stop soon.  


We've got the numbers.  Let's make sure our legislators know that.


To learn more about the Oregon labeling initiative, click here.   

The source of the PCB info and the quote at the head of the article can be found here