GMO labeling petition

Thomas Wittman of Ecofarm, whose Genetic Engineering Newslist keeps us informed about the state of the GMO mess, has sent a request for signatures for a nationwide petition to label GMO foods and and an article reporting the latest news on the costs of such labeling -- nearly zilch despite what the trogs at the Biotech Industry Association put out.
Thanks to Thomas' unremitting work over the last decade we also know that the dirty little story of GMOs is in: they don't cut down on pesticide demand, gene drift via pollen makes GMO-crop fields major contaminators of their regions, Monsanto and its weak sisters in the industry move with relentless barbarism through the courts to enforce their "patents on life," trying to create a Meek New World in which farmers will not save seed and will pay whatever the biotech corporations demand for genetically modified seed. And that's just for starters.
Information about how you can join the Genetic Engineering Newslist is at the bottom of this page.
Badlands Journal editorial board
Action Alert - Tell FDA You Want GE Foods Labeled!
Thomas Wittman

Dear Readers,
   Please go to the NOC site or the Just Label It site to see all active links and to take action.
Thank you,
National Organic Coalition
February 9, 2012
Dear Thomas,
A Bi-Partisan letter is being circulated in Congress for Senators and Representatives to urge FDA to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. This letter will support the Legal Petition filed with FDA in October on behalf of over 400 organizations and businesses to require the labeling of GE foods.

Urge YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES TO Sign the "Dear Colleague" Letter being circulated by Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Peter DeFazio. You can see the entire letter to FDA here, but the last paragraph tells it all:

"We urge you to fully review the facts, law, and science, and side with the American public by requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods as is done in nearly 50 countries throughout the world. FDA has a clear opportunity to protect a consumer's right to know, the freedom to choose what we feed our families, and the integrity of our free and open markets with this petition."
CALL your two Senators and Representative.
Call the US Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
or go to:
"Please sign on to the bi-partisan 'Dear Colleague' Letter to FDA being circulated by   Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Peter DeFazio to require GE LABELING. "
In October 2011 a formal legal petition was filed with the FDA on behalf of over 400 organizations and businesses to require the labeling of GE foods.
The petition demands that FDA:
1. Issue new regulations requiring labeling of all foods produced using genetic engineering; and
2. Issue a new policy redefining a "material" fact as a change in food at the atomic, molecular, or genetic level that a significant share of consumers would find relevant to their purchasing decisions
On the grounds that, among other reasons:
1. Unlabeled GE foods are misleading, and therefore prohibited
2. A broader interpretation of "material" facts is both permissible and necessary
3. Consumers have a judicially recognized "right to know"
4. The patentability of GE foods demonstrates they are materially different from conventional foods
5. The lack of any independent testing or review by FDA supports requiring labeling
6. The demonstrated adverse environmental impacts of GE crops support requiring labeling
Testing expert says labeling GMOs does not increase food costs?
From: Thomas Wittman
Genetic Engineering News List
Dear Readers,
   As we near the beginning of signature gathering for the state and national GMO labeling campaign you will be hearing a lot about how this will be a huge expense and will make our food more expensive.  So I did some research and found that this issue has already been studied and the result is surprising - the cost will be "hardly significant".  See the articles below for the reasoning.
   Be sure to make your signature does count.  You have not yet signed anything for the California Ballot initiative as that part of the campaign begins on February 18 and you will have to sign something in person, not on a web site.  Feel free to remind your local representives how important this issue is for you and your family.  Go to your state GMO initiative web site.  In California it is   For the petition to the FDA go to
Testing expert says labeling GMOs does not increase food costs ... Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Prof. Chris Viljoen from the GMO Testing Laboratory at the University of the Free State in South Africa recently wrote a piece in BusinessDay countering false claims that mandatory labeling requirements for genetically-modified (GM) foods increase food costs. According to his analysis, mandatory GM labeling is good for both business and consumers.
In contrast to current U.S. policy, many nations around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, China, Brazil, and the entire European Union, require that food containing genetically-modified (GM) ingredients be labeled as such. And South Africa is now considering joining them as well. But the proposition has sparked a wave of misinformation from naysayers who insist that labeling requirements will increase food costs.
According to Viljoen, one such claim that mandatory labeling will increase food costs by up to 20 percent is patently false. An comprehensive study out of the EU found that GMO labeling requirements, depending on their stringency, increased food costs in Europe by a mere 0.17 percent at the most, which is hardly significant.
Viljoen also states in an article that there is virtually no cost increase for businesses to have their foods laboratory tested for GMOs, since such foods already have to be tested for other things like contaminants, additives, and colors. And in mose cases, producers already know if a conventional product they sell contains GM ingredients because many popular staple crops like corn and soy are almost always GM unless they are organic or specifically sold as non-GM. So any contention that testing is unreasonably burdensome and costly is pure nonsense, he says.
The real issue is not cost, but rather the effect that labeling has on consumer preference. Powerful biotechnology companies like Monsanto know that if given the choice, consumers will almost always choose non-GM food over GM food. So they work overtime to prevent labeling policies from being enacted, which is what they have thus far successfully done in the U.S.
Learn more:
Here is the source article from Business Day
'Genetic labelling' claims wrong
Published: 2011/02/03 07:39:05 AM
It was with interest that I read recent press articles about calls to label modified foods. I was most interested in the comments on the perceived link between the threshold for labelling and the cost of labelling.
First , whether the threshold is 5% or 1%, there is no cost difference in laboratory testing - I should know as I run the GMO Testing Facility that performs routine genetic modification detection in SA.
Further, the regulations make provision for companies to assume an ingredient contains genetically modified matter if it was derived from a crop for which there is a genetically modified equivalent being produced in SA, such as maize or soybean. In such a case, no laboratory testing would be required, with no additional cost to the company. Compared to this, companies that want to indicate an ingredient has not been genetically modified would be required to verify this using laboratory tests - but this is no different to what is being practised.
Second , the proposition that genetic modification labelling will increase food costs 10% to 20% is unfounded and based on misinformation. In a comprehensive study in the European Union (EU) it was estimated that the added cost to food of genetic modification labelling ranged from 0,01% to 0,17%, depending on the stringency required. The EU system for genetic modification labelling is considerably more stringent than in SA and from this it is reasonable to suggest that the labelling cost to food would be much lower in SA.
There has never been a documented report that genetic modification labelling has led to a cost increase in food anywhere. What is being implemented in SA can be considered a minimum level compared to genetic modification labelling in other countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, New Zealand and the EU.
Third , the comment that some food products "cannot be accurately analysed or labelled because they do not contain detectable protein" is misleading. It is true that processing destroys protein, making it undetectable, but the world standard for performing genetic modification analysis on food is not based on detecting protein but rather DNA (the molecule responsible for making the protein).
DNA is considerably more stable than protein and genetic modification detection laboratories around the world routinely analyse highly processed food ingredients, including starches and oils.
It is true, however, that extremely processed products cannot be tested accurately for genetically modified content as even the DNA may be destroyed. In such cases the ingredients used to make the extremely processed product can be tested .
Finally, genetic modification labelling is no different to labelling foods for the presence of additives or colorants - common practice in SA. There is no report that this practice has resulted in any food cost increase either. If consumer rights are truly autonomous, genetic modification labelling should be no exception.
Prof Chris Viljoen
GMO Testing Laboratory, University of the Free State 
The Genetic Engineering Blog is produced by Thomas Wittman and EcoFarm, and supported by a generous donation from the Newman's Own Foundation.  Please pass this vital information on.  If you would like to get on this list go to and select Blogs.