On March 8, despite massive public opposition, including 50,000 calls and letters from supporters of the Organic Consumers Association, the House of Representatives passed the controversial "national food uniformity" labeling law, which would eliminate over 200 state food safety labeling laws. The law basically takes away local government and states' power to require food safety labels such as those required in California and other states on foods or beverages that are likely to cause cancer, birth defects, allergic reactions, or mercury poisoning. The bill would also prevent local municipalities and states from passing laws requiring that genetically engineered foods and ingredients be labeled. Under the bill, hundreds of state laws and regulations would be eliminated, including those relating to the safety of milk, fish, and shellfish. In order to become law, the bill will now have to go to the Senate for a vote. Because of the enormous public backlash against the bill, Washington analysts believe the bill will have great difficulty passing in the Senate. OCA and other public interest organizations have vowed to go "all out" to stop this anti-democratic, anti-consumer bill in the Senate. Take action here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/rd/labeling.cfm
FACT OF THE WEEK
In the 2006 election cycle, big agribusiness has already given $14,562,681 in campaign contributions to members of Congress. Source: http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=A
U.S. VOTES AGAINST 132 NATIONS ON GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD
Biotech corporations are facing off against developing nations and most of the world this week in Brazil in a debate over the United Nation's Biosafety Protocol. The precedent-setting treaty is an international agreement signed in January 2000 by 132 of the world's nations. But the three main countries that grow genetically modified crops (the United States, Argentina and Canada) refuse to sign it, because the international law would require that countries be notified if the grains they are importing are genetically modified. Biotech companies want that language removed from the treaty, saying that developing nations and anti-GMO consumers in industrialized nations are not entitled to know whether their food is genetically engineered or not.
CANCER CAUSING CHEMICAL FOUND IN SOME SOFT DRINKS
The U.S., U.K. and China have launched investigations into benzene in soft drinks. Results of independent laboratory tests in New York, show a couple of soft drinks in the U.S. contain as much as four times above the legal benzene limit for drinking water. Benzene, a known carcinogen, is formed when two ingredients in the beverage react with each other: sodium benzoate (a preservative) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The FDA will not released the names of the beverages with high benzene levels but says the companies are being asked to change their ingredients. http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/benzene060303.cfm