AT THE HEART OF THE "RIGHT TO KNOW" MOVEMENT FOR FULL AND HONEST DISCLOSURE IN PRODUCT LABELING IS GMO FOOD LABELING.
What are GMOs? GMOs are "genetically modified organisms," plants or animals engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental genes from different species can not occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. While the large corporations that produce GMOs claim they are a better solution to feeding a hungry planet, there is a growing body of evidence connecting GMOs with health problems, environmental damage, and violation farmers' and consumers' rights.
Which foods are GMO? Roughly 70% of food sold contain GMO ingredients. Because of the
prevalence of soy and corn in processed foods, about 30,000 genetically
modified food products sit on US grocery store shelves. You will
see high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, or corn starch on thousands of ingredient
labels. Major brand name sodas are loaded with high fructose corn syrup
made from GMO corn. Other GMO commodity crops include cottonseed, canola, sugar beets (for sugar), papaya, zucchini, squash, and milk. The artificial sweetener
aspartame is also a GMO product. Read more below.
More and more consumers are demanding mandatory labeling of GMO products, because we have a "right to know..."
1 Because GMO foods are untested.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) promotes biotechnology instead of food safety. The FDA has neglected to require safety studies and does not mandate labeling of GMO products. The FDA has assigned responsibility for testing to the corporations creating the GMO products and agricultural chemicals. The agency official in charge of the FDA comes from Monsanto, the corporate giant that specilizes in bioenginnering consumer products and chemical pesticides and herbicides. One of the U.S. Supreme Court justices also comes from Monsanto and constantly rules in favor of the GMO industry. These are major conflicts of interest in the highest level of our government.
2 Because GMO crops harm the environment.
Neonicotoid-based pesticides designed to treat genetically-modifications crops were banned in Europe in April 2013, because they are threatening the population of pollinator bees to extinction. The U.S. bee population has been declining by 30% annually over the past 5 years. Bird species and food fish are dying due to pesticide pollution. Organic and conventional farm crops are being contaminated with drift from GMO crops AND those non-GMO farmers being sued by corporate GMO seed producers for having patented GMO plants growing on their property.
3 Because GMOs are unhealthy.
Animals studies have shown that consumption of GMO foods result in organ damage, immune disorders, premature aging, and infertility. Human illnesses and health care costs have been rising at alarming rates since the introduction of GMO foods into the marketplace in 1996. People with allergies and other health problems are finding their symptoms relieved by switching to a non-GMO diet.
Where can you buy non-GMO foods? You can buy non-GMO food at farmers markets around Rhode Island. You can speak directly with the farmers about how they raise their meat or what they use to protect their crops and verify the quality. There are many natural food stores around Rhode Island. Local super market chains like Dave's offer naturally-raised meats, wild caught fish, locally produced shelf-stable foods, and locally supplied organic produce. Trader Joe's on Route 2 in Warwick has a policy regarding no GMO in their foods.
The website nongmoproject.org lists companies that produce non-GMO products to help guide you in your choices.
You can grow your own natural food, which will have provide significantly more nutritional value than factory/commodity crops, and you can even consider joining the growing farm movement and becoming a farmer. Rhode Island has an abundance of gardening resources, beginning with the University of Rhode Island (URI) Master Gardener Program. Learn more about natural nutrition on this and on many other websites.
What can you do to help educate others about the risks of GMO foods?
Most people do not even know what the letters GMO stand for, much less what they are. You can help with the education effort by sharing this page or by downloading and making copies of the "What are GMOs?" info slip or the Right to Know RI brochure.
A more coordinated effort is being made to draft and present labeling legislation to the Rhode Island House and Senate for the 2015 legislative session.
Stay tuned on the Right
To Know RI facebook page, where you will find insightful articles, compelling stories, riveting videos, and political intrigue. Identify
your representatives and voice your opinions - phone them, email them,
write them a letter, set up an office appointment.
You may also want to contact the representatives on the House Committee. Last year's committee members included the following:
2014 RHODE ISLAND HOUSE
HEALTH, EDUCATION & WELFARE
(Secretary: Lisa Cataldi, Phone: 222-2296)
Representative Dennis M. Canario
(Prime Sponsor of H7042)
District 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton & Tiverton
64 Birchwood Drive, Portsmouth, RI 02871
Tel. (401) 683-4926, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Samuel A. Azzinaro
(Co-Sponsor of H7042)
Deputy Majority Leader
Vice Chair, House HEW Committee
District 37 in Westerly
24 1st Street, Westerly, RI 02891
(401) 596-1434 email@example.com
Representative Marvin L. Abney
Newport & Middletown, District 73
12 Summer St., Newport, RI 02840
Tel. (401) 487-1380, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Maria E. Cimini
Secretary, House Health, Education & Welfare Committee
Providence, District 7
160 Canton St., Providence, RI 02908
Tel. (401) 421-1404, email@example.com
Representative Arthur J. Corvese
Deputy Majority Leader, Chair, House Rules Committee
Vice Chair, House Oversight Committee
North Providence, District 55
234 Lexington Avenue North Providence, RI 02904
Tel. (401) 353-8695, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Grace Diaz (Deputy Chairperson)
Vice Chair, House Health, Education & Welfare Committee
Secretary, House Rules Committee
Providence, District 11
Representative James N. McLaughlin
Cumberland & Central Falls, District 57
15 Garden St., Cumberland, RI 02864 ,
Tel. (401) 333-4946 email@example.com
Representative Joseph M. McNamara
Chairperson, House HEW Committee
Warwick & Cranston, District 19
23 Howie Avenue , Warwick, RI 02888
Tel. (401) 941-8319, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Brian C. Newberry
House Minority Leader
N. Smithfield & Burrillville, District 48
53 Follett Street, North Smithfield, RI 02896
(401) 222-2259, email@example.com
Representative William W. O’Brien
North Providence, District 54
626 Smithfield Road , North Providence, RI 02904
Tel. (401) 440-4063, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Arthur Handy
District 18, Cranston.
26 Welfare Ave, Cranston, RI 02910
Tel. 401-785-8996, email@example.com
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