Yesterday was a better day in the U.S. Senate for family farmers, eaters and the environment, with several key amendments protecting vital conservation programs passing in floor votes. (Please see below for the updates).
We want to thank Food Democracy Now! members and our allies for achieving some significant victories in the Farm Bill this week. As you know, we are up against some of the most powerful corporations on the planet, but this shows if we all work together we can help create significant change. In the past week Food Democracy Now! members have made more than 15,000 phones calls to the Senate, but we have one more hurdle this week.
Another urgent vote will take place in the Senate in the next few hours and your Senator could cast the deciding vote on the Sanders amendment #2310 that clarifies state's existing rights to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. This vote will require 60 affirmative votes to pass so we need A LOT of calls!
In the past year, more than a dozen states have introduced legislation to allow their citizens the right to know what's in their food and how it's produced, but massive corporate lobbying by Monsanto and the biotech industry has brought these bill to a halt in key states like Connecticut and Vermont.
Americans can no longer allow the threats of corporations to deny us our simple Right to Know what's in our food, nor live under the hypocritical and pseudo-scientific theory of "substantial equivalence", which was established by the FDA in 1992 and continues this politically motivated charade of not allowing the labeling of food that has been genetically engineered in laboratories.
Last week Senator Sanders introduced amendment #2310 (the Consumers Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food Act) in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor.
Senator Sanders' words were a welcome relief of reasonable and common sense logic on a topic that has long since been plagued by bureaucratic double-speak.
"All over this country, people are becoming more conscious about the foods they are eating and the foods they are serving to their kids, and this is certainly true for genetically engineered foods. I believe that when a mother goes to the store and purchases food for her child, she has the right to know what she is feeding her child," Sanders said on the Senate floor.
Senator Sanders went on to state basic facts about food labeling policies in the U.S. and abroad that should make all Americans think long and hard as to why GMOs are not labeled in America.
"In the United States, food labels already must list more than 3,000 ingredients ranging from gluten, aspartame, high-fructose corn syrup, trans-fats or MSG, but not genetically altered ingredients. Around the world, by contrast, 49 countries require labels on foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients," said Sanders.
Who knows what the biotech industry is afraid of? But that's not our concern. As an American, we each have a basic inalienable right to know what's in our food, whether it was raised on an organic farm or genetically engineered in a laboratory.
Corporations shouldn't be allowed to deny us our fundamental rights and neither should your Senators!
Senate Food and Farm Bill Floor Vote Roundup
We want to thank everyone who made urgent phones calls in the past week and let you know that your persistence and hard work paid off!
Here's a updated list of the amendments that Food Democracy Now! and our allies for a healthy, sustainable food system supported during the Senate vote on the 2012 Food and Farm Bill.
- VICTORY - Chambliss Amendment No. 2438 Links the receipt of federally subsidized crop insurance to basic conservation requirements.
- VICTORY - Durbin-Coburn Amendment No. 2439 Limits the amount of insurance subsidies for the wealthiest farmers.
- LOSS - Gillibrand Amendment Restores funding for vital nutrition programs and limits excessive payments to crop insurance companies.
- VICTORY - Merkley Amendment Creates a fair crop insurance program for organic farmers.
- VICTORY - Brown Amendment Provides mandatory funding for Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development.
- LOSS - Tester Crop Diversity Amendment to maintain access to the best varieties of seeds for farmers and future generations.
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team