Friday, March 22, 2013

GE Food Forum Brings More Washington Citizens into Labeling Debate

Thursday March 21, 2013
Contact: Emma Boorboor, Food & Water Watch, Cell: 856 264 3808

GE Food Forum Brings More Washington Citizens into Labeling Debate
Seattle voters gather to discuss on I-522 and GE food labeling

SEATTLE – Building on the momentum of Whole Foods’ recent announcement to label all genetically engineered (GE) food in their stores by 2018, Seattle voters gathered at the Right to Know GE Food Forum today to gear up for the labeling fight taking place in Washington this year. Washington citizens will be voting on I-522, the ballot initiative that would mandate labels on GE food, in November.

The Right to Know GE Food Forum was co-sponsored by Food & Water Watch and Yes on 522 to get the facts out about GE food labeling before the agribusiness and processed food industries begin their anti-I- 522 advertising blitz. A panel of experts covered a range of topics to make the case for labeling from GE Salmon (the first GE animal for consumption slated for FDA approval) to the clear citizen mandate for more information.

“Washington voters saw what happened in California and know they will soon be bombarded with ads paid for by Monsanto and other large agribusiness corporations designed to spread misinformation about I-522 and keep them in the dark,” said Emma Boorboor, Seattle field organizer with Food & Water Watch. “Seattle citizens showed up tonight in large numbers to get the facts early and stand up for their right to know what’s in the food they eat and feed their families” 

Speakers at the forum included Trudy Bialic of Yes on 522, Joe Rogoff, Pacific Northwest Regional President of Whole Foods, Micael Preskill, State Advocate for WashPIRG, and Chris Bell, Sustainability Officer at Pike Place Fish.

Joe Rogoff explained, “the heart of this issue is the consumer’s right to know – to have access to information necessary to make decisions on their food choices...Whole Foods Market so strongly supports our customers right to know that on Friday March 8, 2013 we set our own deadline of 2018 for full GMO transparency in our US and Canadian stores.”

Consumers deserve to know whether or not they are buying products that contain genetically engineered ingredients. A 2008 poll by CBS/New York Times found that 87 per cent of United States consumers wanted all GE ingredients labeled, and nearly 60 countries including Japan, China, Australia, Russia, New Zealand, and the European Union require labeling of all GE products.

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control. Food & Water Watch - Washington

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