For immediate release: May 29, 2014
GMO Labeling Supporters Rally at
Office of Chairman Moriarty
Labeling laws passing in three other states, prompts call for action in NJ
Turnersville, NJ: Advocates for labeling genetically engineered foods (GMOs) held a rally at the office of NJ Assembly Consumer Affairs Chair Moriarty calling for him to support a measure that would require labeling if genetically engineered foods to clear the way for passage in the NJ Assembly. At the rally advocates also released a letter from over 100 organizations from around the state that support labeling of genetically engineered foods.
"The support for labeling genetically engineered foods spans from parents who want to decide what to feed their children to farmers who are having their livelihood threatened by contamination from GMOs," said Jim Walsh, New Jersey Director Food & Water Watch. This is about who makes decisions about what we eat and what farmers grow, and right now that decision is being driven by big agricultural interests and the chemical industry who don't want consumers and farmers to have a choice," added Walsh
The movement to label genetically engineered foods has gained momentum over the last year where other Northeastern states have passed labeling laws. New Jersey is among nearly 30 states where labeling laws have been introduced and are working their way through the legislative process.
"Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have all passed GMO labeling laws. It's time for New Jersey legislators to step up to the plate and join the leaders on GMO labeling. Polls consistently show that over 90% of the public want these foods labeled and there is no acceptable justification for concealing genetically engineered substances in our food supply," said Barbara Thomas, GMO Free NJ.
GMO crops easily contaminate non-GMO crops, threatening the consumer's ability to chose non-GMO foods. Superweeds and pests have become resistant to GE-affiliated herbicides and pesticides, fueling the chemical treadmill, and increasing costs for farmers and consumers.
"The states labeling initiative will give consumers the right to know the story behind the food they eat and protect organic and conventional non-GMO farmers from undue harm. Right now the entire burden sits on the shoulders of the non-gmo famer without strong consequences to the gmo farmer for contamination. At stake is the elimination of clean food and the rights of farmers to grow for a non-gmo market and consumers to choose to eat non-gmo products," said Camille Miller, Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.
Advocates in support of labeling chose the office of Assemblyman Moriarty as the backdrop for their letter release because he is chair of the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee, where the bill is awaiting a hearing and vote on the issue. The bipartisan legislation has gained sponsorship from 36 legislators from across New Jersey, and has broad public support.
"The public has a right to know what is in the food we eat, whether its high fructose corn syrup, additives, and especially GMOs. Many people are concerned about their impacts to health and the environment and the public has a right to make informed choices. There is overwhelming public support for GMO labeling and the only thing holding it up is the Legislature. We believe the bill needs and deserves a hearing and a vote. The food lobby should not be allowed to get away with stopping this bill," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.