Food Safety


10 Things You Should Know About GMOs and GMO Labeling

By Carole Bartolotto

Even though they have been in our food supply for years, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about GMOs. There are legitimate environmental and societal concerns including the corporate control of the food supply, loss of crop diversity, and the escalating use of herbicides. The safety of GMOs is a whole other matter and something that is very important to me as a health professional.

Proponents claim they offer a plethora of benefits including higher yields, more nutritious food to feed the hungry, fewer weeds and bugs, and a decrease in herbicide use. But reality tells an entirely different story. While they make millions for multinational corporations, they don't offer consumers a thing.

Groups to Foster Farms: Come Clean on Antibiotics

By Jonathan Kaplan

Natural Resources Defense Council

Foster Farms has been in the news lately because the company was linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds of people last year. Last week a plant was closed after USDA found cockroaches and sanitation problems. They’ve been quick to make promises about doing better, but so far we haven’t heard any explicit pledges to prevent the further spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Why Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods Won't Cost Consumers a Dime

By Zack Kaldveer and Ronnie Cummins

Organic Consumers Association

The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, will soon descend on the state of Washington to try their best to defeat I-522, a citizens' ballot initiative to require mandatory labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Voters should prepare themselves for an onslaught of discredited talking points, nonsensical red herrings, and outright lies designed to convince voters that they shouldn't have the right to know what's in the food they eat.

With FDA Approval Near, "Frankenfish" Opposed by Tribal, Environmental Groups

By Dan Bacher

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said the Tribe strongly opposes the tentative approval of genetically engineered salmon by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"Salmon is in our traditional stories, songs and dances," said Sisk. "We must stay pure to exist in the ancient circle connecting our tribal customs to salmon. The Winnemem Wintu have a right to protect salmon, and certainly NOT allow them to be genetically modified in any way. They must not have their genes and DNA subject to exploring ideas."

Climate Change: Mad Weather, Insane Policies

By Rev. Jim Conn

Despite the conventional wisdom that Southern California only has one season, some wag suggested it does indeed have four: Fires, floods, earthquakes and riots. So far this year we've had none of those, for which I am grateful, and I hope our luck holds.

I say luck because Los Angeles County leads the state in fire risk. Of the million homes in California in high-risk fire areas, half are in our county. Seven of the 10 most expensive fires in the U.S. since 1990 have been in California, and insurers paid some $5 billion in wildfire claims in 2003, 2007 and 2008.

Prop 37 Narrowly Defeated by Corporate Millions, Deceptive Ads

By Dan Bacher

Fishermen, environmentalists and consumer advocates were disappointed - but not surprised - by the narrow defeat of Proposition 37, the initiative calling for the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food in California, on November 6.

GE food opponents said they will be ramping up the campaign across the country to make GE labeling the law in the coming year and are already organizing in over a dozen states.

Prop 37 and Corporate Lies in the Post-Truth Era

By Zack Kaldveer

As a historic vote with profound implications for the future of our food system nears, the question becomes whether a campaign with limitless resources and a disdain for the truth can defeat an overwhelmingly popular idea supported by a grassroots army, and over 3000 public interest organizations: the right to know what's in the food we eat and feed our families.

Poll after poll showed 90% of Americans (and Californians) favored labeling foods that have been genetically engineered (GMOs) and nearly a million signatures were gathered by California volunteers in just 10 weeks - easily qualifying Prop 37 for the ballot. And as of the first week of October, the Yes on 37 campaign enjoyed a 2 to 1 lead in the polls.

The Trial Lawyer Bogeyman

By Lea-Ann Tratten

Halloween has passed but we still face a few more days of political scare tactics heading into Election Day. One such campaign zombie that deserves to be exposed is an argument against Proposition 37, the ballot measure that will require labeling of food products that contain genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). It's that old political horror flick standby - the trial lawyer bogeyman.

Before we confront the scare tactic, let's look at some facts. GMOs are increasingly found in our foodstuffs. Reasonable minds disagree about their relative benefits for the food industry when weighed against the potential of health risks. Whichever side you fall on, it would seem fundamentally unreasonable to hide information from consumers about the presence of GMOs in food.

What's in Your Food? People Have a Right to Know

By Richard J. Jackson, MD MPH

In less than two weeks, Californians will vote on Proposition 37, which would require labeling of food sold in California grocery stores if the food contains genetically engineered ingredients. Sixty-one other countries already have this requirement in place. You should not have to be a chemist, toxicologist or geneticist to have trust in your food.

There is a long history of false reassurances in the environmental health world, including about many pesticides, fumigants, food dyes and preservatives. The most outrageous manipulations of public trust were industry denials of hazards from tobacco, and the misinformation from the lead industry, which worked aggressively in opposition to the concerns of pediatricians and others about lead's toxicity, especially to children.

Fighting for Prop 37: the Truth That $36 Million Can't Hide

By Stacy Malkan

The people's movement for our right to know what's in our food has hit a critical fork in the road: the moment when it's time to ask ourselves and each other - how hard are we willing to fight for our basic right to know what's in the food we're eating and feeding our families?

Proposition 37 is the litmus test for whether there is actually a food movement in this country, writes Michael Pollan in an article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine. It may also be the litmus test for whether there is democracy left in this country.