BlogFood Injustice
November 27, 2013

Got GMOs? Why Knowing What’s In Your Food Matters

nutrition information_picPeople have the right to know what they’re eating – particularly when their health may be at risk. That’s why food packages list their ingredients, nutrition information and warnings about allergens.

And that’s why many in Brooklyn and across New York State are demanding that genetically engineered foods (food that’s been modified with genes from another species) be labeled as well.

There are good reasons for this – concerns that touch upon the health of our families, community, and environment.

Genetically engineered (GE) foods, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are often untested, and often require the use of pesticides and other dangerous chemicals in their production. GMOs may pose a serious threat to organic farming, the environment, and many other risks we may not even know of yet.

What we’re learning about GMOs now, only reinforces the importance of properly labeling these substances. When people in Brooklyn are shopping for food, they should be able to identify which products contain GE ingredients. And the fact is, polls show that consumers overwhelming support labeling laws.

This begs the question: if Americans want it, why don’t we have GE labeling?

Research field

It’s very simple: corporate greed. Big pesticide manufacturers, like Monsanto, DuPont, and others have a lot to lose if we give consumers the right to know what they are eating. But it doesn’t stop there: the junk food peddlers, like Coca-Cola, Nestle, PepsiCo, General Mills, ConAgra and the like want to keep us dining in the dark as well. They’re all willing to use big money to stop labeling, spending millions of dollars to defeat ballot questions in Washington and California.

Here in New York State, a strong movement is emerging to support GE labeling. The Brooklyn Food Coalition, Food & Water Watch, GMO Free NY, the Sierra Club, and many other organizations are backing state legislation requiring that GE foods be labeled. New York can lead the way!

But of course, it won’t be easy. Monsanto and their friends in the pesticide and processed food industry will send swarms of lobbyists to Albany with a simple mission: to kill GE labeling. We know that we’ll never compete with the almost limitless budget of these corporations.

Label_GMO1

But we have something they don’t: people power. To win, we must work at the grassroots level, and it starts in Central Brooklyn with a message to your legislators telling them to, give you the right to know, by supporting A. 3525 in the Assembly and S. 3835 in the Senate. It starts with neighbors talking to neighbors and with communities organizing themselves and demanding that New York’s elected officials finally give residents the right to know exactly what we’re eating.

About this author

Alex Beauchamp

Alex Beauchamp

Alex Beauchamp is the Northeast Region Director at Food & Water Watch. Based in the Brooklyn office, Alex oversees all organizing efforts in New York and the Northeast. Alex has worked on issues related to fracking, factory farms, genetic engineering, and water privatization at Food & Water Watch since 2009. His background is in legislative campaigning, and community and electoral organizing.

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