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How Will the TPP Affect the Food System?

If you’re like me, you’ve known for a while that the U.S. is negotiating a new trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but you haven’t taken the time to figure out exactly why it matters. Hey, I don’t blame us—there’s a reason it’s hard to understand: The corporations and governments negotiating the deal don’t want our opinions slowing down their shiny new free-trade agreement. Read more

GMO-Free & Fewer Calories Too! Big Food Makes Some PR Moves

Last week, the food industry congratulated itself for cutting calories from its products after one major corporation, General Mills, announced that Cheerios would henceforth be free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Both stories generated plenty of media attention, and in an era when food companies are widely criticized for their poor quality foods, the industry needs all the good press it can get. But if you scratch just below the surface with both of these stories you’ll find little more than meaningless “changes” made for appearance’s sake. Read more

UPDATED: Junk Food Companies Dish up More Anti-GMO Labeling Dough

With just one week left until Washington state voters decide on I-522, the ballot initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs), money for the opposition continues to pour in. According to the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, the No on 522 campaign received an influx of $4.2 million last week from just two sources: The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) and Dupont Pioneer, the seed and agri-chemical company.

This brings the current “No on 522” campaign war chest total to $21.9 million, the most well-endowed single-issue campaign in state history. Read more

Post-Prop. 37 Poll Shows the Future of GE Food Labeling is Alive, Well and Living in California

I’m part of the camp that was thrilled that Proposition 37 registered a full 48.6 percent of the California vote last November. More than 6 million voters saying “yes” to labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods was a huge victory in my book, especially given that the No campaign (with major funding from chemical companies and packaged food giants such as Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, PepsiCo and Kraft) outspent the initiative’s supporters by more than $35 million dollars.

Naturally, I would like to have seen Prop. 37 win, despite the mountain of money against it, providing us with a model for more robust and honest food labeling. But the run we made at it was historic — and it is hardly the last time we’ll see GE labeling on state ballots and in legislatures. The showing California’s “right to know” initiative made is proof-positive that we are only an election (or two) or legislative victory from a different kind of understanding of both how we are producing our food and what we are eating and feeding our families. Prop. 37 was a breakthrough, not a moment of doubt. Read more

GE Foods at a Glance: Just Label It’s New Infographic

We know we’ve struck a chord with the Just Label It campaign, as Americans are responding in record-breaking numbers. As of today, more than 900,000 people have submitted comments to the FDA in favor of labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods. (I’ve written about the campaign before here and here.) But this campaign has always been about more than just the numbers. It’s about spreading the word about our right to have GE foods labeled.

We’re excited to now introduce this new infographic, which visually explains why the FDA should Just Label It. Designed to clearly show the need for labeling of GE foods, this educational tool includes a link to the Just Label It website where consumers can submit a comment to the FDA. Convenient for sharing on-line and via social media, the infographic is being distributed nationally by Just Label It’s 500 diverse partner organizations. Read more

An Exclusive Report on GE Foods Answers Questions Big Ag Doesn’t Want You to Ask

Food & Water Watch released a new report yesterday called Genetically Engineered Food: An Overview. Sounds rather textbook, yet this report contains answers to questions about this controversial method of food production that big agribusiness does not want you to know. Our researchers worked long hours to provide consumers with information to make informed decisions about GE foods, so you will want to check this out.

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Messages from the U of O Food Justice Conference

This past holiday weekend, hundreds of people gathered for a free conference, called Food Justice, hosted by the University of Oregon’s Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. In the words of the conference organizers the purpose was to, “Explore the history and future of our food system with a focus on three themes: community, equity and sustainability.”

With a heavy hitters Fred Kirschenmann and Dr. Vandana Shiva offering inspiring plenaries and a host of academics and practitioners sharing their latest research and ideas, the event was as stimulating as it was frustrating. As Dr. Shiva so eloquently said in her closing plenary, “No other species has achieved the amazing success of depriving itself of food.” Read more