“Let’s Eat Non-GMO: The Importance of Labeling”
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Seeds of Truth & Down to Earth ...

Seeds of Truth & Down to Earth
Present a Panel Discussion

Mark Fergusson
Director & Vice President Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA)
Founding Member Label It Hawaii
Chief Vegetarian Officer (CEO/CFO), Down to Earth


“Let’s Eat Non-GMO:
The Importance of Labeling”

Saturday, October 6, 2012

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  • Seeds of Truth & Down to Earth Present a Panel Discussion Let’s Eat Non-GMO: The Importance of Labeling Saturday, October 6 th
  • What are GMOs? How are GMOs Regulated? Concerns with GMOs? GMOs In Your Food What Can We Do? GMO Labeling
  • What are GMOs? How are GMOs Regulated? Concerns with GMOs? GMOs In Your Food What Can We Do? GMO Labeling
  • What are GMOs? How are GMOs Regulated? Concerns with GMOs? GMOs In Your Food GMO Labeling What Can We Do?
  • GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. GMOs are problematic because the science of genetic modification, also known GM, genetic engineering, or GE, is based on the faulty premise that DNA is static, and that it is therefore possible to take pieces out and put pieces in with precision and control, impacting only the chosen genes. To the contrary, studies are showing that when genes are spliced, genes elsewhere in the DNA are affected in ways that GM scientists neither intended or have the ability to gauge the impact of. Therefore, when using GM techniques, there is really no way to know what kind of outcome you will get. Allowing large-scale production of plants with untested and unpredictable genetics presents significant risks to human health, environmental well-being, and worldwide food security. [MF Note] This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
  • 90% of the world’s GMO seeds are sold by Monsanto, the same company that sells the Roundup® to spray on them, and the same company that brought us DDT. Because of the GM Roundup Ready trait, there has been a 15-fold increase in the use of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) on the major field crops since GMOs were introduced. This heavy spraying has led to the rise of “superweeds”—weeds that are Roundup tolerant. To deal with that, farmers are now being told to spray 2-4D (a highly toxic herbicide) in addition to Roundup. The superweed problem has reached epidemic proportions in 2010 and has been covered in mainstream media outlets like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Because of the Bt crops, there are also now “superbugs” that are resistant to Bt insecticide. Biotech companies put a lot of money and PR behind presenting GM crops as beneficial, but the reality is that No GM traits are in commercial production for increased yields, drought tolerance or nutritional superiority. It is essential to emphasize this point.
  • There is no federal law specifically concerning GMO The government has incorporated regulation into laws that existed before biotech crops were developed No independent testing of biotech crops before they are approved Regulated by the USDA & FDA who are staffed by many ex Monsanto and other biotech people FDA says GMOs are non different from other foods and thus require no special regulation or government testing
  • Other Concerns Lack of consumer trust Effects on insect & animal populations Loss of seed diversity Wealth transfer from farmers to the seed companies (GMO seed costs 3 to 6 times more than conventional seed) Contamination of organic crops Tampering with nature GMO = G od M ove O ver
  • Other Concerns Lack of consumer trust Effects on insect & animal populations Loss of seed diversity Wealth transfer from farmers to the seed companies (GMO seed costs 3 to 6 times more than conventional seed) Contamination of organic crops Tampering with nature GMO = G od M ove O ver
  • These figures depict what is planted intentionally, using seeds that are known to be GM. From a supply perspective, due to contamination during growing, processing, transportation, etc., the prevalence of GMO is much higher. *GMO Production in the U.S. (according to 2010 figures) Recent data for Canola is not available; this percentage was approximated by using 2007 figures (87%) and Canadian figures from 2009 (95%).
  • Because corn and soy are staple ingredients in processed foods, it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid GMOs in conventional processed foods; most of these foods are at risk for GMO contamination.
  • What To Do Lobby for labeling on the local, state, and federal level: GE foods are required to be labeled in the 15 European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world. A poll released by ABC News found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of GE foods.  Yet the U.S. is one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling.
  • What To Do Lobby for labeling on the local, state, and federal level: GE foods are required to be labeled in the 15 European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world. A poll released by ABC News found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of GE foods.  Yet the U.S. is one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling.
  • Risk of GMO contamination to natural and even organic products is also increasing as the prevalence of GMO crop acreage increases. Although the National Organic Program (NOP) identifies GMOs as an “excluded method,” they are not a prohibited substance. This means that although GMO seeds are not supposed to be planted, and GMO ingredients are not supposed to be used, no testing is required. These rules were established at a time when GMOs were in limited production, and accidental contamination was not a significant risk. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. With the majority of key crops like soy and corn being planted with GM varieties in North America, contamination of seeds, ingredients, and products is a real risk, even for certified organic products. The good news is that the NOP has excellent guidelines for traceability and segregation, and the Non-GMO Project is designed to honor the work that certified organic companies are already doing, with the added measure of testing risk ingredients at critical control points.
  • Risk of GMO contamination to natural and even organic products is also increasing as the prevalence of GMO crop acreage increases. Although the National Organic Program (NOP) identifies GMOs as an “excluded method,” they are not a prohibited substance. This means that although GMO seeds are not supposed to be planted, and GMO ingredients are not supposed to be used, no testing is required. These rules were established at a time when GMOs were in limited production, and accidental contamination was not a significant risk. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. With the majority of key crops like soy and corn being planted with GM varieties in North America, contamination of seeds, ingredients, and products is a real risk, even for certified organic products. The good news is that the NOP has excellent guidelines for traceability and segregation, and the Non-GMO Project is designed to honor the work that certified organic companies are already doing, with the added measure of testing risk ingredients at critical control points.
  • Down to Earth is striving to: Promote the sale of Non-GMO foods Reduce the number of products that potentially contain GMO Limit and control the introduction of any new products that may contain GMO DTE is launching a store-wide training program for their employees.
  • What To Do Lobby for labeling on the local, state, and federal level: Labeling is required in 15 European countries, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world A recent poll released by ABC News found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods No success in Hawaii this session Organize now for next session Spread the message!
  • What To Do Lobby for labeling on the local, state, and federal level: GE foods are required to be labeled in the 15 European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world. A poll released by ABC News found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of GE foods.  Yet the U.S. is one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling.

“Let’s Eat Non-GMO: The Importance of Labeling” Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Seeds of Truth & Down to Earth Present a Panel Discussion “Let’s Eat Non-GMO: The Importance of Labeling” Saturday, October 6, 2012 Mark FergussonDirector & Vice President Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA) Founding Member Label It HawaiiChief Vegetarian Officer (CEO/CFO), Down to Earth
  • 2. Non-GMOUa Mau ke Ea o ka `Āina i ka Pono“The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” • Hawaii’s state motto was first uttered by Queen Keopuolani in 1825 on becoming a Christian convert • Righteousness can be understood as “right” or “right action” • GMOs are not “right,” they disrespect and lead to the desecration of the ‘āina, both here in Hawaii and worldwide • GMO’s are not pono 2
  • 3. Non-GMOUa Mau ke Ea o ka `Āina i ka Pono“The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” • Hawaii is known as the “Aloha” state • However, Hawaii is the producer of much of the world’s GMO seed crop and functions as a research lab for GMO • Instead of spreading aloha, Hawaii is potentially spreading widespread disease and premature death 3
  • 4. Non-GMOContents• What are GMOs?• How are GMOs Regulated?• GMOs In Your Food• GMO Labeling• Down to Earth & GMOs 4
  • 5. Non-GMO What are GMOs?Plants or animals DNA from one species iscreated through the injected into another species, creatinggene splicing techniques combinations of plant,of biotechnology animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional methods
  • 6. Non-GMOGMO Traits • Resistance to herbicides - 75% of GMO crops are bred for herbicide tolerance (e.g. “Roundup Ready”) • Pesticides in the plants themselves - Engineered to produce Bt (pesticide) in their DNA • No GM traits are in commercial production for increased yields, drought tolerance or nutritional superiority 6
  • 7. Non-GMOHow Are GMOs Regulated?•FDA says GMOs are non-differentfrom other foods and thus require nospecial regulation or government testing•There is no requirement for independenttesting of biotech crops•USDA & FDA are staffed by many ex-Monsanto and other biotech people 7
  • 8. Non-GMO Concerns•A myriad of known and unknown consequences haveresulted from the release of GMOs into nature (e.g.health, environmental, ecological, increased herbicideuse, harm to farmers, etc.)•The eco-system is a complex inter-related system… wedisrespect its intricacies at our own peril 8
  • 9. Non-GMO Concerns•Cultures that trample over nature do not survive in the longterm•Just because scientists have the technical know how tomanipulate nature does not mean that they should•We need to respect mother nature and understand our placewithin her, not play “God” GMO = God Move Over 9
  • 10. Non-GMO GMO Production in the U.S. Corn: 86% Soy: 93% Cotton: 93% Sugar Beet: 95% Canola: +90% Other GM crops that are grown commercially include Hawaiian Papaya, zucchini, and summer squash.*GMO Production in the U.S. (according to 2010 figures) Recent data for Canola is not available; thispercentage was approximated by using 2007 figures (87%) and Canadian figures from 2009 (95%) 10
  • 11. Non-GMO GMA EstimateThe Grocery ManufacturersAssociation estimates thatGMOs are now presentin 75 to 80% ofconventional processedfood. 11
  • 12. Non-GMO GMO Labeling• No way to know if something is GMO unless it is labeled• If mandatory labeling is introduced that will be the beginning of the end of GMO:  Many consumers likely won’t buy products labeled as GMO 12
  • 13. Non-GMO GMO Labeling• We are fighting the same corporations that brought us DDT and Agent Orange• These companies want to deny us our right to know what’s in our food• The cost of labeling (including testing and processes to prevent contamination) will be passed onto consumers• The real cost of GMOs are borne by society, not the GMO companies 13
  • 14. Non-GMOLabeling: Labels we do have!“USDA Organic” • The National Organic Program (NOP) identifies GMOs as an “excluded method” 14
  • 15. Non-GMO Labeling: Labels we do have! • “Non-GMO Project Verified” labeled food – As of July 25, 2012, 5,000 products approved• Clear labeling that empowers consumers across the U.S. and Canada to make safe, healthy non-GMO choices for themselves and their families.• One of the fastest growing categories in the natural products industry 15
  • 16. Non-GMO Down to Earth’s GMO Policy1. Promote the sale of Non-GMO foods2. GMO free perishables & whole products3. Reduce the number of products that potentially contain GMO4. Limit and control the introduction of any new products that may contain GMOs Our aim is to become an all Organic Non-GMO store within 3-5 years 16
  • 17. Non-GMODown to Earth & GMOs• Speaking out about GMOs• Educating customers• Educating grocery industry members• Leadership in organizations opposed to GMO 17
  • 18. Non-GMODown to Earth’s GMO FB PageFollow us:www.facebook.com/StopGMOs 18
  • 19. Non-GMOUa Mau ke Ea o ka `Āina i ka Pono“The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” 19