Labeling GMOS in ABQ!

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Albuquerque Approves Memorial for GMO Labeling

By Eleanor Bravo, Southwest Organizer Food and Water Watch

On May 19, Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously in favor of a city memorial calling for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Albuquerque City Councilman Isaac Benton, District 2, and co-sponsor Diane Gibson, District 7, introduced the memorial in the Albuquerque City Council that supports labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs) on a statewide and national level.

GMOs are plants altered in a laboratory with foreign genetic material to create novel genetic combinations. They exhibit traits that do not occur in nature. Although health risks associated with eating GMOs are not fully understood, these altered foods have become pervasive within our food system since they first became available in 1996. Companies conduct their own safety testing, and independent research is limited because biotechnology companies prohibit cultivation for research purposes.

Labeling GMOs is not a novel idea. Statewide movements to label GMOs are active throughout the nation, and Vermont recently became the first state to require GMO labeling. National polls consistently show that more than 90% of Americans favor GMO labeling laws. More than 60 other countries including the entire European Union, China, Japan and Russia already require GMO labeling.

Albuquerque joins the City of Santa Fe in supporting giving people more transparency about whether or not their food contains GMOs. Since most processed foods contain some derivative of GMO corn, soybeans, canola, or cotton, the city of Albuquerque would support labeling under this memorial.

“Labeling will give us the data we need to draw solid conclusions about GE foods, and it will give consumers the ability to make fully informed decisions about what we are eating and feeding our families,” said memorial sponsor Benton. “Right now, the companies that stand to profit from genetic engineering are making those decisions for us.”

“It’s our right as citizens to know what is in our food,” said memorial co-sponsor Gibson. “In a democracy, corporations should not have special privileges that make it difficult for the average consumer to have transparency in what they consume.”

The impact of genetically engineered foods goes beyond consumer health. It also threatens the livelihood of farmers that grow non-GMO crops since GMO seed and the GMO-related pesticides can contaminate neighboring fields. Consumers should be able to decide for themselves if genetically engineered foods should be fed to their families.

A community wide thanks to Benton and Gibson for their courageous introduction of the Memorial and the City Council for their unanimous approval.

For More Information contact: Eleanor Bravo, ebravo@fwwatch.org or call 505-633-7366

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