Congressional Cosponsors Needed For Mandatory Labeling Bills!
On November 16, 1999, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives a bill that would require mandatory labeling of GE foods--the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act (HR 3377). On February 22, 2000, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced similar legislation in the United States Senate (S. 2080). The text of both bills can be accessed via the Library of Congress' THOMAS Web site (http://thomas.loc.gov).
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of dozens of organizations, and the hard work of the Consumers Choice Council, these bills already have substantial support (see below). But to insure the full bipartisan support necessary to prevent these bills from being squashed in committee or compromised in any way, more cosponsors are needed--especially Republican Members of Congress. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE AND YOUR SENATORS IMMEDIATELY AND URGE THEM TO JOIN THIS IMPORTANT EFFORT. Feel free to use the sample letter below to write to your representative and senators. You can also visit http://www.house.gov/writerep to email your representative directly, or visit http://www.senate.gov to contact your senators.
The following U.S. Representatives have already cosponsored HR 3377:
The following organizations have endorsed S. 2080 as of February 29, 2000:American Corn Growers Association
Center for Food Safety
Citizens For Health
Consumer's Choice Council
Friends of the Earth
Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Mothers for Natural Law
The Natural Law Party
Natural Resources Defense Council
Organic Consumers Association
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods
Union of Concerned Scientists
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
It is vitally important for EVERYONE to convey to the U.S. Senate how important these bills are to you. Senator Lugar has been barraged with letters from large and powerful pro-biotech organizations to urge him to mobilize massive congressional opposition to these bills.
If you belong to any organizations, please urge them to send letters of endorsement of these bills to Senators Lugar and Harkin, who are Chairman and Ranking Democratic Member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry--the committee to which S. 2080 was referred. The support of these senators is critical not only to the successful implementation of Senator Boxer's bill but also to the future success of any precautionary legislation of GE foods.
Please visit the Mothers for Natural Law/Natural Law Party website at http://www.safe-food.org/-campaign/petition.html so you can
THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION IMMEDIATELY TO SUPPORT THESE IMPORTANT BILLS.
On November 17, 1999, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), joined by over a dozen other Members of the House, introduced a bipartisan bill to label genetically engineered foods. On February 22, 2000, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced similar legislation in the United States Senate (S. 2080). I urge you to become familiar with this issue and to join your colleagues in supporting this vitally important legislation so that you can represent my right to make an informed choice about the foods I eat and feed my family.
The global controversy over genetically engineered foods clearly illustrates that even eminent members of the international scientific community can't agree whether these foods are safe or not--for us or for the environment. For example, last spring, every major media outlet across the U.S. carried the news that Monarch butterflies died unexpectedly from eating milkweed plants that had been dusted with the pollen of genetically engineered Bt corn. Now scientists have discovered that the Bt toxin is also released through the roots of the Bt corn crop into the soil. These findings are only two of many unwanted and unintentional side effects from genetically engineered foods.
In every corner of the world, at every level of society, scientists, clergy, physicians, farmers, government leaders and citizens are raising a warning against the introduction of genetically engineered organisms into our food chain. Yet here in America, our government continues to insist that this technology is safe.
If it's safe, why has the British Medical Association called for a moratorium on commercial transgenic plantings? Why has the European food industry demanded segregation and labeling of genetically engineered products? Why has the Pope warned of ethical implications? Why is Austria fighting to be a biotech-free zone? And why have 1,300 schools in the United Kingdom banned these foods from their cafeterias?
In less than four years, more than 25% of our corn, 35% of our soybeans and 50% of our cotton crops have been genetically engineered. Already at least 60% of the foods in our grocery stores contain some genetically engineered component. Within 5-10 years, the biotech industry intends to genetically engineer all of our food. Why are we in such a rush? Forty years ago, DDT was thought to be a safe and promising addition to agriculture. Thalidomide was given to pregnant women by their doctors. Nuclear power was touted as the cleanest energy source on earth. Marketed prematurely, each of these technological innovations brought unforeseen, unwanted, and tragic side effects--which could have been so easily avoided through long-term safety testing.
Well, we're doing it again. Genetically engineered foods are being rushed into the market without proper long-term testing. But the problems that could ensue from the genetic manipulation of our food and the ecosystem make even 10,000 years of radio- active waste seem insignificant. Haven't we learned anything from our mistakes?
We are a vital and creative country. We move quickly and enthusiastically when science opens doors to new frontiers. Our love of progress and our vision of possibilities for life are cornerstones of our nation's greatness. But allowing the glamour of a new discovery to overshadow sound judgment, giving ourselves permission to flood our fields with experimental organisms, which once released can never be recalled, is not only an extremely foolish misuse of science, it's irresponsible. And to conscript the American people into this experiment, without their knowledge or consent--to put these foods on the shelves of our grocery stores without labels--is not only un-American, it's unconscionable. This technology is so powerful that caution is absolutely called for. It's just common sense.
AS ONE OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS, I ASK YOU TO SUPPORT MY RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHAT FOOD I WILL EAT AND FEED MY FAMILY. Please lend your support to the congressional effort to mandate labeling of genetically engineered foods. I look forward to seeing your name on the growing list of cosponsors of this important legislation.
Please include your name, address, and the date
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